UP CLOSE: There are a few places to see bilbies, but few are as impressive or as valuable to conservation as the Charleville Bilby Experience.
UP CLOSE: There are a few places to see bilbies, but few are as impressive or as valuable to conservation as the Charleville Bilby Experience.

Bilbies star in festivities

THERE might be a handful of places around the country where you can catch a glimpse of the elusive bilby, but there's nothing quite like the Charleville Bilby Experience.

Dedicated bilby veterinarian and Bilby Experience manager Kat Lutz can't speak highly enough of the important work that goes on both at the centre and at Currawinya National Park, where there is a 27sq km bilby enclosure for bilbies raised for release into the wild.

This weekend the centre will be gearing up for what may be its biggest few days to date as it takes centre stage for the Charleville Big Birthday and Bilby Festival.

The festival was planned to coincide with National Bilby Day, an important part of the centre's awareness raising campaign.

Dr Lutz said the centre would be open Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with extra events taking place on Sunday when it would usually be closed, including a recovery breakfast offering a bit of much-needed assistance to those who enjoyed themselves a little too much at the Fur Ball on Saturday night.

Visitors could also expect to be wowed by the centre's amazing street parade float and could support the centre by buying a beverage at a pop-up bar during the parade.

Many of the events taking place over the four days of the festival would also be donating proceeds to the important work being carried out to save one of the country's most adorable endangered species.

"We have heaps of projects on the go at the moment,” Dr Lutz said.

"We have our intensive conservation, breeding and creching facility here and we are part of the national bilby breeding program.

"We have been breeding many bilbies. Last year we had four and now we're up to 27.”

She said part of that effort was perfecting the breeding program and getting breeding partners interested in carrying out their jobs, an effort she declared a great success.

Workers then monitor the development of the bilbies and prepare them for release in the wild, which takes place in a safe, feral cat-free enclosure at Currawinya National Park.

Visitors can get up close to bilbies and have their photo taken with one during the morning bilby presentations, held at 9am.


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