Greater Bilby

© Wayne Lawler/AWC

Quick Facts

  • Scientific Name: Macrotis lagotis
  • Family: Thylacomyidae
  • Conservation status: Vulnerable
  • Estimated population: <10,000
What Is Awc Doing Brad Leue Bilby © Brad Leue/AWC

What is AWC Doing ?

AWC protects almost 15% of the entire Bilby population.

The key to our success with Bilbies has been the establishment of massive feral predator-free areas.

AWC’s Scotia Wildlife Sanctuary protects almost 1,000 wild Bilbies, while another significant population occurs at Yookamurra Wildlife Sanctuary.

In 2016, AWC reintroduced Bilbies at Mt Gibson, where we expect the population to grow to around 240 animals.

AWC reintroduced Bilbies to the Pilliga in late 2018, and will soon establish new populations at Newhaven Wildlife Sanctuary and at Mallee Cliffs National Park.

Within a decade, AWC properties will protect an estimated 5,000+ Bilbies.

Threats To Wildlife Awc Numbat © AWC

Threats to Species

The Bilby population continues to decline, with the primary cause being predation by feral cats and foxes. Altered fire regimes and competition for resources with introduced herbivores are other key factors leading to the decline of this species.



Using their strong forelimbs, Bilbies dig burrows up to three metres long to live in. They are opportunistic feeders, with a broad diet consisting of insects, seeds, bulbs, fruit and fungi.

Bilbies act as important ‘ecosystem engineers’; in the course of digging burrows and feeding, an individual Bilby turns over up to 20 tonnes of topsoil in a year.

Range and abundance

Bilbies live in a variety of habitats including grasslands, stony downs country, and desert sandplains and dunefields. They occur in patchy populations from near Broome through the Tanami and Great Sandy Deserts, and in an isolated population in south-western Queensland. Bilbies were once widespread across arid and semi-arid Australia, occupying around 70% of the continent. Cats and foxes have had a catastrophic impact on the species, which has disappeared from over 80% of its former range.

A second Bilby species, known as Yallara or Lesser Bilby, survived in Australia’s central deserts until about the 1960’s, but is now presumed to be extinct. AWC’s logo is a stylised image of the Yallara.

Latest News from the Field

© Wayne Lawler/AWC
© Brad Leue/AWC
Feature 14 Aug. 2019

AWC – Driven by science

Sanctuaries Where You Can Find the Bilby

© Joey Clarke/AWC
New South Wales


“Scotia wildlife sanctuary … a vitally important project for Australia and for the planet.” – Sir David Attenborough Scotia Wildlife...

© Wayne Lawler/AWC
South Australia


Protecting over 5,000 hectares of crucial habitat in the Murray Darling region, Yookamurra Wildlife Sanctuary is a stronghold for Australia’s...

© Wayne Lawler/AWC
New South Wales

The Pilliga

Representing a landmark collaboration between AWC and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Pilliga project area protects a...

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