Sunday, September 18, 2011

Lesser Bilby

Since its discovery in 1887, the species was rarely seen or collected and remained relatively unknown to science. In 1931 Finlayson encountered many of then near Cooncherie Station, collecting 12 live specimens. Although according to Finlayson this animal was abundant in that area, these were the last Lesser Bilbies to be collected alive.
The last specimen ever found was a skull picked up below a Wedge-tailed Eagle's nest in 1967 at Steele Gap in the Simpson Desert, North West Territorry. The bones were estimated at being under 15 years old.
Indigenous Australian oral tradition suggests that this species may have possibly survived into the 1960s.
The decline in numbers of the Lesser Bilby and ultimately its extinction was attributed to several different factors. The introductions of foreign predators like the cat and fox, being hunted for food by native Australians, competition with rabbits for food, changes in the fire regime and the degradation of habitat have all been blamed for the extinction of this species. However Jane Thornback and Martin Jenkins suggested in their book that the vegetation in the main part of its range remained intact, with little evidence of cattle or rabbit grazing and point to cats and foxes as the most likely cause of the extinction of the lesser bilby.
Source: Wikipedia


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