A new tradition for Easter?

Tue 30 Mar 

A new tradition for Easter?

By Roy Weavers

Easter is traditionally a family time of year so maybe this Easter is the Easter to introduce a new Aussie tradition to your family.  Well it’s not strictly a new tradition, its’ been around for a few recent years, but it is certainly one that should be more relevant to us here in Australia than the tradition that it’s campaign is trying to replace.  And who knows we might all save another species from disappearing in our lifetime.

The Easter Bunny has been an important part of Easter celebrations all over the world, but Australians have often questioned its suitability for our nation. In Australia feral rabbits are a major environmental problem and in most states it is illegal to even own a rabbit.

The reason for the rabbit being a pest goes back to the settlers who brought it over from the Northern hemisphere. Many were released into the wild so that they would breed and then provide food on the dry plains. Unfortunately, no one realised how well the rabbit would breed and adapt to the harsh climate. The huge rabbit population competes against the native fauna for food and so threatens their existence. It also has devastating effects when they feed on our native flora.

The Australian government has gone to major lengths such as the huge Rabbit Proof Fence along the Northern Territory's border to try and control the rabbit population. Things such as bringing in an assortment of viruses and also culling, have been tried, however they remain a major problem.

So what, I hear you ask, has all this bunny rabbit stuff got to do with me?  Well in recent years the Bilby has been put forward as the new Easter symbol for Australia. The Bilby is a native Australian animal that has become endangered.  It is a small rodent with a long nose and tail, however it shares one feature with the rabbit, and that is its ears!  

The Easter Bilby is becoming more common on our supermarket shelves (alongside the traditional rabbit) and most manufacturers donate some of the proceeds from Chocolate Bilby sales to helping to try to save the native Bilby, which is unfortunately on the endangered species list.

So, why not give chocolate Bilbys this year instead of chocolate bunnies, they’re just as cute and they won’t compete with your other native pets or eat your crops.  Just in case you don’t know what a Bilby (chocolate or real) looks like, see the photo on this page.

Stores everywhere in Australia are stocking them. If your local shop doesn't, ask them why not?  Maybe they will get some in for you.   Darrell Lea make the Chocolate Bilbys so it’s not big sacrifice to ask is it?   Find out more on the Darrell Lea sponsored website at http://www.easterbilby.com.au