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Author Topic: Australian-first for Melbourne platypus survey  (Read 1055 times)

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Australian-first for Melbourne platypus survey
« on: February 01, 2015, 10:35:06 AM »
Australian-first for Melbourne platypus survey

Friday 30 January 2015

​The discovery of three 20-year-old male platypuses has shed new light on the life span of the iconic species in the wild, the latest survey findings from Melbourne Water show.

Results from the spring survey revealed three 20-year-old platypuses - two in Monbulk Creek and one in Plenty River.

The Melbourne Water Urban Platypus Program, now in its 20th year, helps determine the status of platypus populations and helps prioritise river health works.

The surveys, held every spring and autumn, identify threats to the iconic species, insights into the steps to mitigate these threats and monitor the response of platypus to river health works.

Overall, the survey showed Melbourne’s platypus population is continuing to recover from drought but illegal fishing practices remain a threat. The survey highlights included:
•Four platypuses, including two juveniles captured in Olinda Creek, Lilydale. The best result since 2011.
•Seven platypuses captured in lower Jacksons Creek, Sunbury. The best result since 1998.

General Manager of Waterways, Gavan O’Neill, said the spring results showed there was still much to know about platypuses.

“Platypuses are notoriously reclusive, so findings such as those from the Monbulk Creek survey are critical to improving our understanding and ensuring our efforts to protect this native species are on the right track,” said Mr O’Neill.

“Melbourne Water, local councils and community groups do a tremendous amount of work to protect waterways so this survey is further encouragement that this co-ordinated effort is making an impact,” he added.

Josh Griffiths, ecologist for cesar, who conducts the surveys, said the positive spring program was soured by the discovery of two dead platypuses in Warrandyte, likely to have been killed by illegal fishing practices.

“We suspect the use of illegal gill nets or set lines had killed these animals, one of which had been microchipped in a previous survey,” said Mr Griffiths.

Mr Griffiths said several sightings of platypuses in areas previously believed to be uninhabited, including Patterson River in Patterson Lakes and Parwan Creek in Bacchus Marsh, had been registered on the community monitoring website

“We encourage anyone who sees a platypus at their local waterways to submit their sighting to the website, which helps us build a better picture of the population across greater Melbourne,” said Mr Griffiths.Sorry, only registered users can see this content. Please Login or Register.

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