Maybe it will be both Bilbies and Bunnies?…
EASTER BILBY BIG REUNION
“VISITING wildlife parks with her parents as a child is how Rebecca Dunbar a then little known native marsupial heading towards the endangered species list.
In bid to gain exposure for the Bilby’s plight, the then eight year old gathered signatures from class mates and sent a heartfelt letter to local chocolate makers Melbas and Haighs asking them to help – and the Easter Bilby was born.
This year marks 20 years since the Easter Bilby became a chocolate icon in Australia, and Mrs Dunbar, of Gawler, says when she sees the bilby brought out for Easter, she stilll has to pinch herself. “I’m humbled,” Mrs Dunbar said.
“I’m still really amazed an idea could be ongoing and so influential in the public eye.
“To be a young person…and hear about a cause…and be part of that change and find you made a difference is exciting and empowering.”
Melba’s founding director Graeme Foristal said the company had been considering adopting the Bilby in 1993, but credited Mrs Dunbar for giving Melba the push to get it done.
“The bilby changed Easter in Australia,” Mr Foristal said. “We were very unsure and then when the letter came we just couldn’t resist it. It was so cute.”
Mr Foristal tracked down Mrs Dunbar this year through the threatened species network which help create the Easter Bilby, to include her in the 20th anniversary celebration and to unveil the new look bilby to the woman who inspired it as an eight year old.
“It was very exciting – it was like seeing a long time family member,” Mr Foristal said.
In 1993, Haigh’s Chocolates joined forces with the Foundation for Rabbit-Free Australia (RFA) to help increase awareness of the not-for-profit organisation’s programs.
Haigh’s Chocolates chief executive Alister Haigh said more than 500,000 chocolate bilbies had been made since the partnership started.
“We are determined to do more for a cause that is so important,” Mr Haigh said.
RFA president Nicholas Newland said the initiative raised money and awareness of the threat posed by rabbits.
“We all need to be vigilant against the threat that wild rabbits pose to our biodiversity, landscape quality, farmers, horticulturalists and foresters,” Mr Newland said.
Part proceeds from the sale of Easter bilbies go to the RFA’s work to protect the environment from wild rabbits.
Haigh’s Chocolate’s bilbies are available at its Parkside, Glenelg and CBD stores.
Easter Chocolate gets the “taste test”…
… and the winners are:
Tasty chocolate is tasty chocolate… regardless of it’s shape 😀
RESOURCES and FURTHER INFORMATION:
Educational resources, such as this Worksheet, can be accessed at:
Worst Rabbit Plague Since 1995:
Haighs Easter Bilbies – 20th Anniversary:
Eight year old girl from Gawler, South Australia, creates the Easter Bilby:
Students give Easter chocolate – 2013 – the taste test:
Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel