Threatened Australian Animal Back in the Wild for the First Time in a Century
For the first time in more than a century, bilbies are running wild in Southeastern Australia.
The small animals were once widespread across much of Australia, but were last observed in the wild in New South Wales state in 1912.
Every year bilby populations continue to decrease. Wildlife experts are afraid that the bilby, a small marsupial, could eventually disappear forever, either because of land clearing or fires. Another reason is a threat from cats and foxes, which hunt down and kill bilbies.
In northern New South Wales state, environmentalists are celebrating what they are calling a historic moment.
Thirty bilbies from a captive breeding program have been released into a large predator-free enclosed area north of Sydney.
Without the protection of a 32-kilometer fence, experts say the animals probably would not survive.
Tim Allard heads the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, which is involved in the project.
He says the release of these beloved animals is a big deal.
"Bilbies only really survive behind fenced areas. There are some remaining wild bilby populations, but they get predated upon heavily by feral cats and foxes."
Allard said the point of doing this project is to return the countryside to what it used to be before Europeans arrived.
"So in the not-too-distant future, you will be able to go inside the fenced area and it will be like stepping back before Europeans turned up," he said.
Bilbies are known for their long ears and large back legs. They usually sleep during the day, and are awake at night. They look a lot like rabbits and grow to about 2.5 kilograms.
Australia has one of the world's worst rates of mammal extinctions. The bilby project is seen as an important part in protecting the nation's wildlife.
I'm Susan Shand.
1.historic moment 历史性时刻
Ladies and gentlemen, today is an historic moment.
2.hunt down 捕猎
The hounds will soon hunt down the stag.
3.turned up 出现；找到
We were looking for her when she turned up.
4.be known for 因...闻名
The French are known for their love of their language.
5.For the first time in more than a century, bilbies are running wild in Southeastern Australia.
For the first time 首次
Now I use a false name if I'm meeting people for the first time.
The airport road is passable today for the first time in a week.
6."So in the not-too-distant future, you will be able to go inside the fenced area and it will be like stepping back before Europeans turned up," he said.
stepping back 后退
The US is stepping back from the global responsibilities it assumed after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
I couldn't help stepping back when I saw the deep water in the pool.
兔耳袋狸的数量每年都在缩减 。野生动物专家担心这种小型有袋动物可能会因土地开垦或火灾灭绝 。另一个原因是来自猫和狐狸的威胁，它们会猎杀兔耳袋狸 。
蒂姆·阿拉德（Tim Allard）是参与该项目的澳大利亚野生动物保护协会负责人 。
他说：“兔耳袋狸只能在围栏的保护下才能存活 。还有一些现存的野生兔耳袋狸，但是它们遭到了夜猫和狐狸的残酷围猎 。”
兔耳袋狸以长耳朵和硕大的后腿闻名 。它们通常在昼伏夜出 。他们形似兔子，体重能长到2.5公斤左右 。
澳大利亚是世界上哺乳动物灭绝率最高的国家之一 。兔耳袋狸项目被视为保护该国野生动物的重要组成部分 。