Researchers Are Delighted To See Australian 'Easter Bunny' On Hidden Cams

In Australia, you don’t always get a bunny in your Easter basket. Instead, many Australian kids enjoy munching on a chocolate replica of a different animal — the bilby.

Bilbies are fuzzy long-eared marsupials native to Australia. According to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC), bilby populations have declined in recent decades due to an increase in predators and a lack of resources. In fact, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) notes that bilbies are in danger of becoming extinct.

However, there’s still hope for these beloved Australian Easter icons. In a recent survey, researchers at AWC were thrilled to find many bilbies at a number of sanctuaries hopping through hidden-camera footage.

“Populations of the bilby, Australia’s answer to the Easter bunny, continue to grow,” AWC wrote in a press release about the animals.

According to AWC, the latest survey results show over 3,300 protected bilbies thriving across six predator-free sanctuaries. This is a very encouraging sign.

Healthy bilby populations are especially vital considering the important role bilbies play in their environment. Bilbies are incredible diggers who use their paws to construct underground burrows. According to the WWF, once the bilbies are done with their burrows, these tunnels provide shelter for lots of other small animals, like reptiles, birds and insects.

“Bilby burrows are completely transforming the landscape,” wildlife ecologist Dr. Tim Henderson said in the press release. “They’re popping up everywhere … it’s great to see.”

Amazingly, though bilbies are small, they’re very strong. The WWF mentions that these resilient diggers can “shift more than 1.5 tonnes of soil per kilogram of body mass in a single year as they construct and maintain their subterranean homes.”

With so many passionate animal lovers on their side, it’s clear the bilbies have more than a fighting chance to flourish in years to come. With any luck, these fuzzy animals will be around every Easter from here on out.