Come from away

Do we have a chance against alien species?

Every Easter, while North American children feast on chocolate and marshmallow bunnies, the Adelaide-based confectioner Haigh’s Chocolates offers Australian kids a less menacing alternative: the chocolate bilby, a treat in the shape of a small local marsupial. Haigh’s phased out chocolate bunnies years ago, going “rabbit-free” as part of a partnership with Rabbit Free Australia, a wholly serious non-profit organization whose mission is to rid the country of what it calls its worst vertebrate pest. Rabbits were first introduced by European settlers to Australia in the eighteenth century, to be raised for food, then released from cages for sport hunting. They soon grew to enormous numbers, overgrazing pasture, eating crops, killing young trees, initiating irreversible erosion, and contributing to the decline of many native species. In spite of shooting, poisoning, and trapping, introduced predators such as ferrets...