SWEET TREATS: Piper Delpaul with Jodie the bilby and the Pink Lady chocolate bilbies now available for Easter at major retailers.
SWEET TREATS: Piper Delpaul with Jodie the bilby and the Pink Lady chocolate bilbies now available for Easter at major retailers. Sarah Harvey

Save the bilby campaign on the hop again

EASTER is on the way and the Save the Bilby Fund is back in the pink with chocolate bilbies on sale again at major retailers.

Ipswich's bilby man, co-founder of Save the Bilby Fund Frank Manthey, wants us all to make this and every year a bilby Easter.

Mr Manthey has gone a long way to change the mind-set that Easter means chocolate bunny but says he's still got a long way to go.

Darrell Lea had supported the cause of the endangered bilby from the sale of its chocolate bilbies but in 2012 its stores closed.

By then, the Save the Bilby Fund was receiving $60,000 a year from the sale of Darrell Lea chocolate bilbies so that left a gaping hole.

Pink Lady Chocolates, owned by Fyna Foods, came to the rescue last year but too late to secure a deal with big stores.

Now, Fyna Foods has Big W, Myer, David Jones, post offices and specialist chocolate shops on board to sell its chocolate bilbies.

Money from the sale of the bilbies will go to preserving bilbies and other endangered species.

"We get 30 cents from each of the larger bilbies and $1 from each pack of 10," Mr Manthey said.

"It's the only Australian animal to have its own national day and that was created because the bilby is the flagship for a whole range of other species. That was my dream.

"So we've already passed money off to the northern hairy-nosed wombat; we donated $30,000 to Griffith Uni for young people to do research; we've got a request from a guy in Albany Western Australia who researches the most endangered mammal on the planet, Gilbert's Potoroo.

"There's 45 of them left and he's looking for $18,000 to buy infra-red cameras for his research. We want to have a good Easter so we can help him get some of that money."

Frank Manthey also has the support of Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate in his campaign to have the bilby made a mascot for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

"I won't know if I'm successful until the end of the year but I've gone really all out," he said.



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