Platypus futures

Our knowledge of platypus distribution and regional genetic diversity are sorely lacking, as are strategies to address the primary threats faced by this freshwater ecosystem keystone species.To this end, multiple groups have been working hard to improve our understanding of impacts of river system regulation (dams, diversions) and climate change on platypus health and distribution, with the goal to reduce extinction risk. 

Census data continue to confirm that the wild platypus population has declined over the last 10 years and provide much support for a national risk assessment. Longer term trend analyses, using the online repository “Trove”, suggest that distributions and densities of platypus have declined considerably in recent times. Platypuses tagged by the program teams across regulated and unregulated NSW river systems indicate that interrupting the natural environmental flows of rivers, for example by damming, has been a huge impediment to platypus movement and dispersal. Cost effective conservation actions for the platypus including modification of yabby traps to reduce deaths from bycatch are under consideration by regulatory agencies.