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Chocolate bilby hops into Australian Easter baskets to help endangered species

Chocolate bilby hops into Australian Easter baskets to help endangered species

Chocolate bilby hops into Australian Easter baskets to help endangered species

Updated 28 March 2013, 17:23 AEDT

In Australia, many Easter baskets come with a special treat. Instead of a chocolate bunny, they will get a chocolate bilby. And an endangered animal reap the benefits.

The bilby is a rather odd-looking Australian marsupial - small and rabbit-like with a pointed pink nose and soft fur.

The noctural animal could once be found in up to 70 per cent of Australia, but over the past 200 years, changes to the environment, competition from introduced species like the rabbit and land clearing has put the bilby at risk.

At one time, there were two species of bilby in Australia - the 'lesser' and the 'greater' bilby. Now, only the 'greater' bilby survives. The 'lesser' bilby became extinct in the 1950s.

The idea for a chocolate Easter bilby, instead of the traditional chocolate rabbit, first popped up in the 1970s and 80s in Australia. But it wasn't until the early 90s that the idea really took off.

Now, chocolate bilbies are availabe for purchase at several major stores across the country - and for a good cause. Partial proceeds from chocolate bilby sales go to a variety of conservation efforts, like Rabbit Free Australia and Save the Bilby Fund.

Radio Australia went out on the street to find out more about the bilbies and their chocolate counterparts. Will a chocolate bilby find its way into your basket this year?

 

 

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