Platypus returns to Sydney’s Royal National Park after disappearing for decades

The platypus disappeared from the park’s waterways about 50 years ago and was relocated to Sydney’s Royal National Park.

The iconic Australian animal is believed to have disappeared from the national park after a major chemical spill on the Princes Highway in the 1970s, but numbers may have already declined. There is

A joint project by the University of New South Wales, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and the World Wide Fund for Nature has reintroduced five females to the Hacking River, with groups of males to follow next week.

The platypus was transported from southern New South Wales and is kept in Taronga Zoo’s dedicated platypus sanctuary while waiting to be taken to its new home.

Five females were initially reintroduced.()

Rob Brewster of the World Wildlife Fund said the initial sex separation was key to early survival.

“We put the females in a week to 10 days before the males come in, so that the females settle down without the males being a little bolder and a little louder,” he said.

“Hopefully, these females can find that little niche in their new environment and settle together from there.”

Brewster has spent years working to make the park’s ecosystems platypus-friendly again, including improving water quality and controlling pests such as foxes and cats.

If the initial reintroduction is successful, the platypus will increase, he said.

“We are trying to see if this platypus survives.

“If so, it is clear that breeding, burrow establishment, and the establishment of the next generation are indicators of medium-term success.

“And then I want to see the platypus spreading out.”

Cameron Carr of Taronga Zoo said the species is a silent victim of climate change.()

The species is an icon of Taronga Zoo and they are “committed to ensuring the zoo’s prosperity.”

“The platypus is a silent victim of climate change,” said Cameron Carr, director of the zoo’s conservation group.

“While their elusive behavior makes them invisible, they are especially vulnerable to drought and environmental change below the surface.”

New South Wales Environment Minister Penny Sharp said the move was a step to ensure the platypus survives amid climate change.

“Royal National Park is Australia’s oldest national park and we are delighted that this historic reintroduction will help re-establish a reserve for this iconic species,” she said.

The platypus has undergone a veterinary health check and has been fitted with a transmitter so that it can be closely monitored in its new environment.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-05-14/platypus-reintroduced-to-royal-national-park-sydney/102344804 Platypus returns to Sydney’s Royal National Park after disappearing for decades

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