Renowned UK primatologist Dr Jane Goodall has a new namesake to add to her list, a baby bilby triplet.
Frank Manthey, co-founder of the Queensland-based conservation group Save the Bilby, said he thought he would use Dr Goodall’s speaking tour of Australia as an opportunity to honour his hero.
Dr Goodall, who is a Dame of the British Empire, is best known for her work studying and living with wild chimpanzee tribes in Africa and establishing innovative community conservation and development programs.
“I found out we had a really wonderful person who is a legend in conservation, Jane Goodall was coming to Australia,” Mr Manthey said.
“She’s a remarkable person and has done fantastic work.”
Dr Goodall said she’d had quite a few other animals – and many trees – named after her, including a Western Australian tree called the Dr Jane.
“I’ve never had a bilby named after me,” she laughed.
“It’s wonderful to meet these animals that I worked so hard to help conserve.”
She said programs such as Save the Bilby are critical but the work is far from over.
“It’s what gives me hope,” she said.
“All this work to save, breed and release endangered species, it means we have to be concerned with the environment, we have to protect the environment.”
Schoolchildren taking part in a competition chose to name Jane’s siblings Daisy and Blossom.
Save The Bilby Fund said it was quite common for bilbies to have twins, but the triplets were a nice surprise and because they were all female it would help with the breeding program.
Dr Goodall also met Dawn Fraser who is patron of the Save the Bilby fund and environmentalist Bob Irwin.
The bilbies are the first set of triplets born at the Ipswich nature centre in south-east Queensland.
They’ll now go on to be part of Australia’s Greater Bilby breeding program.