Here's some great news! Many of the endangered animals—including the oh-so-adorable bilbies—that were reintroduced to Sturt National Park in the far-west outback of New South Wales, Australia are thriving. Clarence Valley News explains:
Populations of four native mammal species – bilbies, crest-tailed mulgaras, Shark Bay bandicoots and golden bandicoots – are booming since their recent reintroduction to Sturt National Park in the far-west NSW outback.
These mammals were translocated to the area between 2020 and 2022 as part of the NSW Government's feral-predator free area partnerships project, with the Sturt National Park site managed by UNSW Wild Deserts, aiming to revitalise the desert landscape by repopulating the park with small native mammals. The project is run in collaboration with Ecological Horizons, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, and Taronga Conservation Society.
Dr. Rebecca West, the principal ecologist for the project, told Clarence Valley news: "It's now estimated up to 60 bilbies are bouncing around the feral predator-free areas, including female bilbies bred at Wild Deserts, which are now having pouch young of their own."
Some of those re-introduced bilbies came from Taronga Zoo, Sydney, which explains:
Taronga is working towards the Bilby no longer being considered extinct in the state of NSW. Their future is looking brighter thanks to a 110 ha breeding sanctuary at Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo. This research and breeding site will inform how we manage the bilbies as we work to reintroduce them into the wild. The first sanctuary-bred Bilbies are due for release into Sturt National Park in the arid north-western corner of NSW before 2021.
So what's a bilby, anyway? Taronga Zoo, Sydney describes these adorable creatures:
Bilbies are the largest species in the bandicoot family and have beautiful fluffy, silky grey fur and a long snout with a slender tongue. With such a delicate appearance one is led to wonder how such an animal could ever survive such harsh desert conditions! They keep cool in the hot Australian summer by using their strong claws to dig cool burrows underground. These burrows are generally spiral and as much as 3 meters deep.