Furry little educators
A RARE case of bilby triplets was announced on the Gold Coast on Tuesday and the trio are almost set to begin telling the story of their species' survival in the southwest.
The three female bilbies may have only ventured out of their mother's pouch at the Dreamworld Wildlife Sanctuary recently, but the furry bundles of joy will become part of the park's collaboration with the Save the Bilby Fund, which sees both organisations work together for the conservation of the endangered marsupials.
Raising awareness of the bilbies in the wild was an important job for the furry bundles of joy, said Save the Bilby Fund chair and Dreamworld's general manager of life sciences, Al Mucci.
"Our bilby triplets, three girls who are nearly three months old, have emerged from the pouch and, at this age, they are pretty cute,” Mr Mucci said. "They are about a quarter of the size of an adult bilby, weighing in at about 400 grams, and their mum is about 1.5kg.
"They're little, fully furred, mischievous, and all three can't fit in mum's pouch at the same time now,” he said.
"At the moment, we are getting them used to us, because these are going to be our education bilbies.
"They'll share what's going on with bilbies in the wild, particularly with our friends at Save the Bilby Fund in Charleville and in Currawinya National Park.
"These guys will become tactile animals for us to share their story.
"So our keepers and myself, we get in the enclosure with them and we let them crawl on us and cruise around us so they get used to people,” he said.
The little ones are likely to do well in their teaching role at the sanctuary, but sending them to their ancestral home in outback Queensland was never entirely out of the question, Mr Mucci said.
"They do have the potential to be released (into the park) because their genetics are good, but these have been earmarked for education.
"We do presentations in the park and Save the Bilby Fund take them out to schools and other public events to share the bilbies' story, that in western Queensland it is a boom and bust time, and when it is in drought, that hurts the bilbies just like it hurts the stock animals,” he said.
"There are only 400 left in the wild in western Queensland, so it is important that zoological institutions like us do more to help bilbies in the wild by sharing their story and receiving donations so we can put more of them back into the predator-proof area of Currawinya National Park.”
In April this year, Mr Mucci and the Fund are hoping for another bilby release into the safe area.
The Charleville Bilby Experience is creching the animals set for release.