I am currently in Charleville and have a little time and, more importantly, internet access! So I wanted to take this opportunity to quickly drop our wonderful supporters a note about what we have been up to recently. It has been an extremely busy couple of months!
Firstly Just wow! Again – our first ever Giving Day was more successful than we hoped and it has given me a lot of reassurance and comfort that so many of you understand what we are trying to achieve and how hard we have to work to make it happen.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who dug deep.
I have been working in and around the fence at Currawinya National Park since I came back at the end of January. Cass, our PhD candidate, plus her small team of committed volunteers and interns have been with me for a couple of months. We have all spent many nights and days tracking, trapping, retrieving transmitters and assessing bilby populations and health. I assist Cass, as well as monitoring the area outside the fence to ensure ongoing absence of feral predators.
I cannot tell you how extraordinary and gratifying the growth in the bilby population behind our predator exclusion fence has been to see. As you may remember, I drag tires over the dirt roads to clear them, so that the next morning we can observe new animal tracks.
As recent as two days ago, the overnight activity on the roads included such an abundance of bilby tracks. Little joey tracks, adult tracks – all criss-crossing around; it is clear that there is a lot of bilbying going on!
When we observe the bilbies and when we trap them to retrieve the tail transmitters, they are – without exception – in great condition. All the females we caught had active pouches and every bilby had exceptional body health scores. I am delighted to tell you that your exceptional donations have directly led to this exceptional result!
We were also been able (with the help of Murweh Shire Council) to re-open the Charleville Bilby Experience at the end of March. We have read some of the great reviews and are so happy that this partnership is working out to give us a covid-safe environment for people to see our bilbies and continue to connect with our vision – to save the bilby from extinction in our lifetime.
You may remember that whilst covid-19 restrictions were generally bad for hospitality and tourism, they were great for bilby breeding! Last week we were able to select 10 beautiful bilbies for a fresh start at Currawinya. Our magnificent males are Rocky, Vere, Hangar, Jeff & Matty, Our phenomenal females are Summer, Amber, Wendy, Margaret and Sylvia (pictured). We cannot wait to see them thrive in Currawinya. They have already settled in to the soft release area and will be ready to venture beyond in a week or so.
I am here in Charleville to cover a lot of ground in a very short time, as always, so I will need to make this quick. This week, I am booked to have conversations with contractors to look at the clearing and building work for the breeding facility upgrade; check in with council to make sure that they still have everything they need for the CBE; Plus with me today is Jodie – the Greater Bilby species co-ordinator for ASMP. She will be going over the plans for the upgrade with me and will also spend some time with Kat looking at genetic records and breeding plans for the coming year.
I really do feel – and for the first time, I think – that we will make it! Thanks so much to everyone who has come on this journey with us—we are seeing some amazing results, and we have all of you to be thankful for this. Have a great day.