Here at the Save the Bilby Fund we are used to really tough challenges. We have faced many over the last ten years – such as the horrendous drought conditions, scorching hot summers and dry, freezing winters – our release program was delayed by unprecedented heat waves.
Eight years ago we lost our partnership with Darrell Lea when they went into receivership – although they were bought out, the partnership and the income produced from the sales of chocolate bilbies was lost. This amounted to approximately $60,000 that we could rely on to cover our costs each year
Five years ago, when our much-loved Co-founder, Frank Manthey (OAM), retired from National Parks, we lost a paid position covered by Queensland Government and then another one when Co-founder Peter McRae retired in 2018. Sadly, both have now passed, may they rest in peace.
Cadbury used to make a one-off donation of around $10,000 each Easter for a number of years– but we lost that two years ago when they made the decision to discontinue making chocolate bilbies.
Now, as an immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic we have lost all income from the iconic Charleville Bilby Experience. Our bilby experiences are designed to be intimate and like so many other activities have had to be closed under the federal Government’s COVID-19 response.
This will mean the loss of approximately $115,000 or so that our bilby-lovers generate in admission, purchases and donations that will simply not eventuate in 2020. The bilby festival and our annual fundraiser, the Bilby Ball have both been cancelled for 2020.
THE ONLY INCOME WE CAN COUNT ON RIGHT NOW IS FROM OUR BILBY-LOVING COMMUNITY
We have immediately cut costs where we can while remaining focussed on providing the best possible care and security for our precious bilbies– I am back out at Currawinya on my own with just the voluntary help of Cass, our passionate and committed UQ PhD student.
Kat Castles is working part time taking care of our bilbies in the breeding pens and keeping our intensive breeding program going. Peggy and Sara are working minimal hours to fundraise, take care of our donors and keep on top of bills.
Still it’s not enough to get us through the next 6 months. I am worried about finding the necessary resources to pay our bills for food stuffs and essentials for the bilbies at Charleville. And keeping a watchful eye on our newly established population at Currawinya while the water recedes from recent flooding and we continue to monitor the bilby population and prohibit feral cats from entering the enclosure we have worked so hard to establish as predator free.
Please help. We genuinely need money to just make it through week by week at the moment. Donate now to cover the income we have lost from the Charleville Bilby Experience in the 2020 season.
The bushfires earlier this year devastated our native species. Help us make sure that when the world starts to open up again we haven’t also lost control of the recovery of the bilby that remain increasingly threatened in the outback, for good.