More than half a century after the last platypus disappeared from Australia (and one of the oldest national parks in the world), a large-scale conservation project has been Reinstall it species to the area near Sydney.
A unique species in the country, it is one of only two mammals that lay eggs on land (the other group being anteaters), and spend most of their time in the water at night. This reclusive nature, combined with its habitat requirements, is also the reason most Australians have never encountered a platypus in the wild.
Four females were released into the Royal National Park, established in 1879, 35 kilometers from Sydney, during a reintroduction carried out with the help of Australian nature conservation organizations near the University of New South Wales.
Due to the destruction of duckbill mammals’ habitat, receding rivers, proliferation of wild predators, and frequent extreme weather events (drought, wildfires), the species is increasingly at risk. The population can still be assessed with great uncertainty, currently estimated to be between 30,000 and 300,000.
The platypuses, which live on the east coast of Australia and Tasmania, have been collected from various parts of southeastern New South Wales and put through all the tests critical to the project, and will be monitored over the next two years to better understand how to help their survival in the event of drought, bushfire or Floods.
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