Scientists are calling on Victorians to help gather critical information on the population of one of Australia’s most iconic and elusive native animals, the platypus.
This week, the platypus was added to Victoria’s threatened species list and classified as ‘vulnerable’. After years of drought, urban sprawl, and topped off with the Black Summer bushfires, the monotreme has seen a decline in numbers across the state.
As part of an effort to support the platypus population, the Victorian government simultaneously announced that $250,000 would go to restoring current platypus habitats and $50,000 towards developing a long term plan for the animal.
However, scientists claim that their knowledge of platypuses, including habitat and true numbers across the state, is not enough to effectively foster an increase in numbers of the vulnerable animal.
This state-wide citizen science survey is calling on Victorian residents to take water samples from 2000 designated local waterways and send them to EnviroDNA’s labs to be tested for the presence of platypus DNA.
Collection of samples should take place during the platypus breeding season, between August and October.
Caught a glimpse of a platypus in the wild? You should log your sighting on the platypusSPOT website or app. These results will be shared online and in real time, so you can watch the sighting of your newest little friend be added to the state total.
Get outside this weekend and get platypus spotting!
Feature photo by Meg Jerrard