Monday, March 05, 2007

Bilbies not bunnies

As we approach Easter the shops become plagued by rabbits. Now I don't mean to offend any one, but there are mountains a patterns and toys for rabbits, and one thing the world doesn't need is another bunny toy or pattern. Bunnies annoy me. I have one in my shop and it is designed to be casseroled!

Well meet the bilby. This is a sad story.
Once up a time when the British settled Australia they brought with them rabbits and foxes to hunt , and pigs to farm. And the rabbits went forth and multiplied, and took over the land, and burrowed away, and munched on the nice grass. In the absence of a natural predator, they had found the promised land. The bilby however, used to live in about 70% of Australia now had to compete. The bilby is a burrower, and likes nice munchy green things as well. They also are more attuned to our climate and have a slower reproductive cycle. They were very quickly outnumbered.

When the settlers realised they had a problem, they laid poison, and traps. They caught lots of rabbits, but they also killed as many native animals such as wombats, and wallabies, and bilbies.
So now one type of bilby is thought to be extinct. Hasn't been seen since about 1930. The remaining one we are down to about 600. So I find bunnies pretty annoying. To think they came in and took over and the locals are now an endangered species. The bilby is only found in Australia.

The bilby, sometimes known as the rabbit eared bandicoot is a marsupial with a backwards facing pouch. Bilbies are nocturnal ground dwellers and live in burrows. They are protected in Australia as only 600 now live in the wild. I reckon if you can count them, then there isn't enough! There used be 2 types of bilby, but one species has been extinct since 1931. The “save the bilby” campaign has been active for a number of years, with the slogan “Bilbies not Bunnies” used at Easter to promote the plight of this little animal. Sales from chocolate bilbies go towards conservation efforts. The rabbit has been an environmental disaster in Australia, and needs to be eradicated from our country to enable the survival of the bilby.

So I took on the task of designing a crochet bilby, and to put the bunny in its place. My lovely tester did the one below.

I also made him a little goody basket. I tried for a rustic bush look. While their is some history to the rabbit and Easter, I believe that all Gods creatures have a place on this earth. So the bilby has just as much a role as any other critter. Besides the bilby needs all the publicity it can get if it is to survive.


Easter is about new life, and new beginnings. If you are facing extinction, then this is doubly important.

The patterns are in my etsy store, but the real message is about protecting our environment and raising awareness of how acts of the past have had such a devastating effect on our environment. They had a bilby display at the Ekka last year, and the queu was a mile long to see them. We waited patiently, and saw a bilby. They are such gentle and amzing little animals, it was well worth the wait.

The kids need to know about the bilby, and understand why all animals have a place. Hence I am not into the glorification of the bunny!

Thanks for listening.

Here is a link with some bilby info:

http://www.abc.net.au/science/scribblygum/april2006/

(c) copyright crochetroo (this include images as well as content. I am happy for you to link to this page, but dont pinch my pictures.)

2 comments:

daverichards said...

This is a wonderful story...and very informative too...and the photos are great too...thanks for sharing this wonderful post...and also do drop by my blog on Easter Greetings sometimes and share some of the spirit of Easter...i'm sure you'll enjoy your visit!!!

Wanda Kay said...

Your Easter billby looks terrific. How sad that they are nearing extinction, they are such pretty little creatures. Makes me wish I had know about them when I was getting my menagerie tattoo.