Easter Bilby's, anyone?
If you're anything like me, you've probably already bought and consumed most of the candy that is supposed to fill your Easter baskets this year. And why not? A gooey-eyed pastel bunny will come around and fill them up again on Easter morning anyway. Tis the season to indulge in all kinds of disgustingly delicious bunny treats like Peeps, Cadbury eggs and black liquorice jelly beans. What's not to love about the Bunny? Leave it to those hateful Australians to find something.
The Australians take vilification of fluffy animals to the next level. Rabbits have caused the extinction of about an eighth of the mammals in Australia due to overpopulation. It's widely believed that the problem began in 1859 when a English hunter moved to Australia, decided the continent wasn't violent enough and had 24 rabbits brought over to shoot. Apparently he had terrible aim. Within ten years this small yet amorous population had multiplied to the point that over two million could be killed annually without putting a dent in the new rabbit population. With all this loving going on, you'd think some of it would rub off on the Australians. You'd be wrong.
Aussies have tried poisoning, fences, trapping, shooting, fertility control and releasing "rabbit-borne" illnesses to put a stop to the Easter Bunny. So where does that leave the holiday? In the pooper. Enter the bilby to save the day.
The Bilby is a sweet, shrew-faced marsupial. The only thing separating it from a rat is that it has a pouch which, to Australians, elevates it to sainthood. The Anti-Rabbit Research Foundation of Australia thought up the "Easter Bilby" in 1991 to publicize the damage done to Australian wildlife by rabbits and to raise cash to save the endangered bilby population. The campaign appears to be a roaring success. Aussies can now celebrate Easter by consuming chocolate bilby's while grilling up Bugs Bunny on the old barBie. Sounds like fun, eh mate?
The spirit of the whole revolution can be summed up in this song by John Williamson called "The Easter Bilby":
At what point can you just scrap the entire holiday and start over? My proposed slogan for the Easter Bilby campaign: If you like Vegemite you'll love the Easter Bilby! I'm pretty sure nobody else gets it.
Did you know that Bilbys used to be everywhere
Now there’s just a few in Queensland do we really care?
Big long ears, she’s no bunny
Like a kangaroo
She can carry chocolate in her pouch
But Grandpa won’t believe me
He’s too busy snoring
As she tippy-toes around the couch
Oh we all love the Easter Bilby
Pointy little snout
Close your eyes I’m sure she will be
Sneaking all about (with her)
Yum, yum, yum, yum chocolate Bilbys
Big long chocolate nose
It’s Easter so I’m sure she will be
Round on tippy-toes
But did you know cats and foxes
Eat our little friend
They’re nasty and they chase her all about
But you can help to save her
If you buy her chocolates
She carries with her babies in her pouch
She comes out after darkChorus
That beautiful little Bilby
She hears you are asleep and tucked in tight
She has such big ears she knows you are dreaming
She’ll bring a chocolate Bilby tonight