One of Australia’s most beloved animals is making a return to Sydney after being locally extinct for 50 years. The native Aussie animal was reintroduced into the country’s oldest national park, about an hour’s drive from Sydney’s CBD. Known for its duck-like bill, flattened tail and webbed feet, it’s extremely rare to see the amphibious mammal out in the wild. But that is all primed to change now for locals. Five female platypus have been released into the park in the Hacking River and four males will be re-introduced in the coming weeks.
The landmark conservation project is a collaboration between the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), Taronga Conservation Society Australia, UNSW Sydney and WWF-Australia.
The platypus were kept at Taronga Zoo’s purpose-built platypus refuge before being transported to their new home.
“The iconic platypus is under immense pressure. The work that has gone into this project to get to the point of releasing these platypus is essential to assure the security of these species into the future,” NSW Environment Minister Penny Sharpe said.
Each platypus have been fitted with transmitters and will be tracked over the next two years to get an understanding of what they need in the event of droughts, bushfires, etc and to determine if this initiative was a success.
“This translocation not only re-establishes a population in part of their former range but allows us to refine the skills and expertise that will inevitably be required to counter the impacts of increasingly frequent and more severe climate events,” Taronga Conservation Society’s Cameron Kerr said.
Find more information about the platypus reintroduction here.