Greater bilby facts

Common name: Greater bilby
Aboriginal names: Mankarr, Warlpajirri, Ahurt, Ninu, Dalgyte
Scientific name: Macrotis lagotis
Population: Declining
Endangered status: Endangered (Qld), Vulnerable (national)

Photo: Jiri Lochman/Lochman LT

Is the Greater bilby extinct?

  • Greater bilbies are not extinct but they are endangered in Queensland and listed as vulnerable nationally.
  • Less than 10,000 are alive in the wild.
  • Greater bilbies once happily called 70% of Australia home. Now they are one of Australia’s most at-risk animals with only 20% of their former habitat remaining.
  • Their close relative, the Lesser bilby was declared extinct in the 1950s.

What are the biggest threats to the Greater bilby?

  • Cats and foxes are a constant threat for Greater bilbies. But their other big threat is land-clearing for profit, which threatens their home and their survival.
  • In some last Greater bilby strongholds, like the Pilbara and Kimberley, governments are allowing the continued destruction of bilby habitat, driving them further towards extinction.

What does a Greater bilby look like?

  • With soft grey fur, a white-tip tail, long pink nose and big ears, Greater bilbies are among our cutest mammals.
  • Pointed snouts are perfect for digging up roots, bulbs, fungi, termites and other insects found in woodlands and grasslands. Long, soft ears and keen sense of smell make up for bad eyesight.

Where can I find a Greater bilby?

  • Greater bilbies live in some of the harshest places in the country — mostly desert-like scrubland, such as the Kimberly.
  • They build burrows that spiral about three metres deep where they spend hot days, emerging at night to forage for food.

Photo: Jiri Lochman/Lochman LT

The Greater bilby is missing in the wild

We can’t imagine an Australia without the Greater bilby.

But bilbies are missing in the wild. Because our leaders are missing in action.

That’s why we’re pushing for stronger laws to better protect them and all of Australia’s incredible wildlife.

We demand strong environment laws that will save our iconic wildlife.

We need laws that actually protect nature, including strong outcome-focused environmental standards and an independent regulator to oversee decision-making.

Speak up for the Greater bilby

Add your voice to the petition to the federal government, asking our elected representatives to support ambitious global goals for nature to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and achieve a Nature Positive world by 2030 — and invite your friends to raise their voice to nature too. 

Australia must work with other nations to deliver ambitious global goals for nature to halt and reverse biodiversity destruction and set us on a path to a nature-positive world. 

Read more

Our beloved bilby: under threat from money and politics


Header: Roland Seitre/