Save the Bilby – the need to de-sex cats
Frank Manthey, Save the Bilby fund founder, says- De-Sex cats, dogs to help solve the plight of native species
The cat problem is a human caused one. Cats make great pets, but when loose they do what they can to survive. They need to be de-sexed, and not dumped! Farmers have much to answer for, with wild dogs just going on the rampage!
Save the Bilby’s Frank Manthey is urging Queenslanders to stop dumping kittens & cats, and de-sex the ones they have. He’s been writing to councils for years to mandate de-sexing of domestic cats but they continue to ignore my emails or put the issue in the ‘too hard’ basket.
(image: Bilbies at night: The Australian Bilby Appreciation Society http://members.optusnet.com.au/bilbies/About_Bilbies.htm)
We need to implement the Trap Neuter Release program which is working in other countries; and then change the laws to prevent this problem from occurring again. No more knee jerk reactions of shooting, poisoning etc. Human responsibility comes first. All animals are sentient beings. Pam Hayes
Endangered Queensland Bilbies are to be buoyed by predator-proof fence repairs. Experts estimate only 400 bilbies are left in the wild, with feral cats decimating numbers.
The State Government has committed $700,000 towards fixing and upgrading the 15-year-old Currawinya National Park fence. Save the Bilby fund director said that with the repairs, new bilbies would be released in early spring this year or autumn 2017.
The Bilby story comes up every Easter when all the cat haters come out with their burning torches to hunt down abandoned cats that have been left to fend for themselves because of human irresponsibility.
Australia is infamous for being the biggest exterminator of native species in modern times.
The Bilby is the sole survivor of the six bandicoot species that once lived in Australia. For a species that covered three-quarters of the mainland, it has now disappeared from 80 per cent of its natural range. It may be less noticeable than other diminishing species, but our nation is poorer nevertheless.
Bilbies are also known as Rabbit-eared Bandicoots.
Australia once had two species of bilby – the Greater Bilby and the Lesser Bilby. The Lesser Bilby is extinct. The Greater Bilby is the largest member of the bandicoot family, measuring up to 55cm in body length with a tail of up to 29cm long. Adult males weigh 1-2.5kg and the females weigh between 800g- 1.1kg. They range from 30 to 60cm in length with a 20cm tail. The females are smaller than the male and they only associate to mate.
(image: Greater bilby at Sydney Wildlife World: By Dcoetzee - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6809991)
Diet: The Bilby is omnivorous and its diet includes bulbs, fruit, seeds, fungi, insects, worms, termites, small lizards and spiders.
Breeding: The Bilby is a fast breeder, with a 12 to 14-day pregnancy. When the baby joey is born, it looks like a baked bean with legs. It stays in its mother’s pouch for between 75 and 80 days and is independent about two weeks later. Female Bilbies have a backward-opening pouch with eight nipples.
Habitat: Bilbies live in grasslands and mulga scrublands in the hot, dry, arid and semi-arid areas of Australia. The preferred habitats are mulga scrublands and Spinifex grassland. Bilbies once inhabited 70% of Australia and now they are only found in small areas in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South- West Queensland.
They are threatened, like many of our endemic species, by feral animals, such as cats, dogs and foxes. Farming, for sheep and cattle, has destroyed habitat, and introduced European rabbits compete for burrows.
Why do we celebrate a devastating pest every Easter around Australia? Easter should be celebrated with the Bilby, and ditch the rabbit as our symbol of new life, and fast breeding!
The world needs to know about the plight of this delightful animal.
(featured image: The Australian Museum web site)
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