Discover the history behind the much-loved Haigh's Chocolates Easter Bilby which celebrates it's 25th anniversary this Easter.
The Bilby is an Australian native animal that has faced extinction due, in large part, to European wild rabbits.
The bilby and important native conversation programs are being highlighted as Haigh's Chocolates celebrates its 25th anniversary of the Easter bilby and its support of the Foundation for Rabbit-Free Australia (RFA).
More than 700,000 chocolate bilbies have been made since they were first introduced to the Haigh's Chocolates Easter range in 1993. Part proceeds of sales of chocolate bilbies are donated to RFA to help raise awareness of environmental issues caused by rabbits and the impact this has on many native species, including the bilby.
Haigh's Chocolates Chief Executive Alister Haigh said the Haigh's Easter bilby has been an excellent way to raise the profile of this endearing marsupial.
"The chocolate bilby was an instant success and grew in popularity each year, so three years later we decided to do away with chocolate rabbits and make the bilby a permanent feature of our Easter range," Alister said.
RFA Chair Peter Alexander said rabbits continue to have a direct impact on Australia's agricultural industries, costing more than $200M a year.
"Wild European rabbits remain wide spread across southern Australia, however populations are much lower than they were 25 years ago thanks to prolonged, coordinated efforts to reduce numbers," Peter said.
"It's critical that we continue control programs and research to ensure the survival of threatened native animals and plants".
Haigh's Chocolates is also a major sponsor of the bilby program at Zoos South Australia.
Adelaide Zoo Bilby Keeper Christine Letcher said as few as 10,000 bilbies are now estimated to be left in the wild and breeding programs like those at Adelaide and Monarto Zoos are vital to securing the bilby's future.
"We have bred more than 200 bilbies and released almost 100 back into the wild as part of vital recovery projects that provide a lifeline to this incredible Aussie battler," Chris said.
Discover the Haigh's Chocolates Easter range, available in-store today.
Visit Haigh's Chocolates at Shop 52, Ground Floor.