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Bilbies coming back from the brink in NSW

The greater bilby is making a comeback in NSW, where the marsupial has been missing for a century. (AAP)

After being extinct in NSW for more than a century, the bilby is making a comeback.

Bilbies were once found across 70 per cent of Australia, but until recently the marsupials were missing from the state's wilds.

Yet NSW is now seeing a resurgence of these nocturnal desert dwellers with long ears and silky, blue-grey fur thanks to Taronga Western Plains Zoo's greater bilby conservation breeding program in Dubbo.

Zookeepers and conservation officers last week ventured into Taronga's 110-hectare sanctuary in Dubbo to check on the breeding program.

The population is usually left to breed naturally so the creatures can become genetically and behaviourally robust before being released.

But every night last week, conservation officers assessed the population's health and selected which bilbies were ready to make the leap into the wild.

Greater bilby keeper Steve Kleinig said more than 70 traps were set to entice the bilbies to a safely contained area for weighing and health checks.

What they found was great news for the recovery of the native species.

"Almost all the females checked had joeys in their pouches and all individuals that we health-checked were in great body condition," he said.

Taronga Conservation Society Australia CEO Cameron Kerr said the species was "flourishing in this very special environment".

In the coming weeks more than 30 bilbies from the sanctuary will be released into the Newhaven Wildlife Sanctuary in Central Australia.

Within the safety of the 9450-hectare area free of feral predators, the bilbies will be able to re-establish their presence in the semi-arid region and help secure the future of their species.

It's the second release of bilbies from the Taronga sanctuary, with 10 bilbies released into Sturt National Park in September.

The first release came 11 months after the founding bilby population arrived in the Taronga sanctuary.

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Dive Deeper:
Truss urged to step back from brink in explosive Brexit spat with Brussels over Northern Ireland
Tearing up Northern Ireland protocol ‘will spark trade war, drive up inflation and damage UK influence’, warns senior Tory MP
VIDEO: Ready Bear: The Cute Koala Stud Heading For Date With Swiss Miss
He may look more cuddly than sexy, but this adorable koala bear is spearheading a new international captive breeding program.
Activists pitch for wildlife sanctuary status for Pakkamalai- Gangavaram hills region
It is an ecologically important area in the eastern ghats, says a naturalist
Rat-eating six-foot snakes bigger than an adder found breeding in the wild in Wales
The snake, which can grow to 6ft long, has returned to the UK after a break of some 10,000 years…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Rare UK seabirds put at risk by ‘alarming loophole’, say campaigners
Ministers accused of ‘giving up’ on birds as they explore exemptions from duty to protect the animals
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Councillor Scott Davidson said he thought he was 'away' when he wasn't getting enough oxygen.
Get all your news in one place