The near extinction of the Bilby

I’m paying the price of having a week away as the spring continues to impact on our wildlife. The situation doesn’t improve as the years go by. Relentless, irresponsible habitat destruction is still allowed to continue in both urban and rural areas. When we look at wildlife that come into our care, it is just a drop in the ocean compared with the repeat scenarios happening in our suburbs, in our state, all over our country, every day, every night.

Within a short time of arriving home from the wonderful Bilby fundraising and wildlife awareness weekend in Charleville, the orphaned and injured animals began to arrive. Thanks must go to our wildlife hospitals, veterinarians and wildlife carers who are there to help. Today I now have four pre-release ringtail possums, five gliders of three different species, 4 noisy miner chicks, a kangaroo joey and a water dragon. This shows the varied impact that humans have on wildlife on a day to day basis. If just each and every one of us contained our domestic pets it would make an incredible difference. It would mean safety for our domestic pets and safety for our wildlife. The number of native animals killed daily by domestic animals is staggering. That is before we even look at the feral animals across Australia that have helped lead to the near extinction of animals such as the Bilby. Australia cannot be proud of having the worst mammal extinction record internationally. The fact that the Bilby has the shortest gestation period of any mammal in the world, 12-14 days, makes it even more reprehensible. Their capacity to breed in captivity is a bonus, but successful release of these animals is not possible until something is done about feral animal control.

As it seems to continually be feed time for some little animal in the house, I don’t have the time to dwell too much on such depressing facts. All we can do is try to compensate for those who have no regard for our Australian native wildlife.

The inaugural “Fur Ball” in Charleville

As I type this on my phone I am sitting at the Toowoomba railway station ready to set off on the Dawnie Express on its next leg of the steam train journey to Roma.

The final destination is Charleville. The inaugural “Fur Ball” will be held there. This fundraiser will hopefully help our exquisite native animal, the bilby, from heading even further into the spiralling descent towards extinction. Our Australian wildlife desperately need our help to survive and the Bilby Foundation is such a worthy cause. The legendary Frank Manthey began the fight for awareness and respect for the bilby, and all Australian wildlife, many years ago and it is his passion that helped keep up the momentum that has led to this occasion.

This event will become a popular annual event for Australians and for people from overseas. The steam train trip has been wonderful. The other travellers are all such a friendly bunch and everyone meanders around on the train backwards and forwards to the dining car or just to socialise. People on roadsides and in towns wave madly at the train, and everyone enthusiastically returns the greetings.

Many of the passengers are travelling by themselves but the train is one big happy family. By the time we all get to the “Fur Ball” we might even remember each other’s names!

Some people on the train are going out on the train just for the trip and a couple of nights in Charleville. Others are just doing one or two legs of the journey. A few people who didn’t get tickets for the ball have now changed their minds and are going to get tickets at the door.

If I survive the week I will write more about the cause and the occasion when I am sitting in front of a bigger keyboard! Put this event into your calendar for next year!