The opening marks the very first time that guests can actually get up close and personal to these critically endangered Aussie icons previously housed off exhibit, behind Dreamworld’s Australian Wildlife Experience.
The specially designed, semi-nocturnal exhibit aims to increase awareness of the grim plight faced by bilbies in the wild and aims to educate guests about how they can contribute to their conservation.
Simulating their natural environment, the enclosure sports ready-made burrows, plant life and lots of red dirt for digging, all offset by a magnificent mural of the Australian outback at dusk.
Dreamworld is home to nine bilbies, which it displays on behalf of the Save the Bilby Fund. The park is a Gold Sponsor of the Fund, which works tirelessly to bring the bilby back from the brink of extinction.
Dreamworld is currently working with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service with hopes of becoming a bilby breeding centre as part of a cooperative captive population of Queensland Bilbies.
Dreamworld contributes through direct donations, the sale of ‘Save the Bilby’ merchandise and donation boxes set up in-park for guests to pledge their support for the fund.
Last year alone, Dreamworld donated considerable cash and in-kind support to the Save the Bilby Fund and its co-founder, Frank Manthey, who has been based at Dreamworld since March 2003.
“The new Dreamworld Bilby Display is like a dream come true for me. Through this display, people will appreciate how special the bilby is and how we will lose this species unless we all help,” Mr Manthey said.
Dreamworld donations assist important conservation initiatives of the Save the Bilby Fund including the construction of a feral-proof, bilby fence in Currawinya National Park in South- West Queensland, the area used to release bilbies back into the wild as part of the Recovery Plan for the species.
Dreamworld also takes the bilby conservation message on the road through a mobile education unit, Wildlife for Kids, reaching over 10,000 students every year.
Dreamworld General Manager of Life Sciences, Al Mucci, said the new Bilby Exhibit would be an entertaining and educational experience for both parents and children.
“Because bilbies are nocturnal, it is a rare thing to be able to catch a glimpse of them in an environment that resembles their natural habitat,” Mr Mucci said.
“The new Bilby Exhibit encourages guests to develop an empathy and understanding of this threatened species and their struggle to survive in the wild,” he said.
Bilby numbers are rapidly declining as they compete with rabbits and livestock for food and contend with predators like feral cats, foxes and dingoes.
There are an estimated 600 bilbies left in the whole of Queensland.
Dreamworld’s Australian Wildlife Experience home to more than 800 native animals and birds, and is one of the largest native wildlife parks in South East Queensland.
Dreamworld is open from 10am to 5pm every day except Christmas Day and ANZAC day morning (25/4). Australian Wildlife Experience is included in Dreamworld’s general admission price. For more information or to buy tickets online visit www.dreamworld.com.au.
- Of the six bandicoot species that once lived in the arid/semi-arid areas of Australia, bilbies are the only species remaining.
- Bilbies do not need to drink water, they get all of the moisture they need from their food.
- The bilby’s pouch faces backwards to prevent it from filling up with dirt when they burrow.
- Bilbies shelter during the day in burrows underground that may extend to 2m in depth.
- Bilbies have a strong sense of smell and excellent hearing which is no surprise due to their long muzzle-like nose and big ears.
- The Greater Bilby is endangered but the Lesser Bilby has been extinct for more than 50 years.