After 50 long years, platypus are once again swimming in the rivers of Sydney’s Royal National Park, wahooo!


This week, the very first translocation of platypus in NSW went down right under Sydney’s nose. Five female platypus were released into the Royal National Park as part of a collaborative project between NSW National Parks, Taronga Conservation Society Australia, UNSW Sydney, and WWF Australia. 

Just watch them squirm and wiggle back into the water! It’s too much!



Next week, once the females have had time to establish their territories, four males will be released as well, to help reestablish a self-sustaining and genetically diverse population within the park. 

‘The reintroduction of platypus to the Royal National Park is more than just about returning an iconic species to its home; it’s about restoring balance to the ecosystem and reinforcing our commitment to conservation,’ said Dr Gilan Bino from UNSW’s Centre for Ecosystem Science

In order to ensure the genetic diversity of the animals, the platypus were collected from southern NSW and spent some time in Taronga Zoo’s purpose-built platypus refuge. 

Before being released, the platypus were given vet health checks and a release assessment. They were also fitted with tracking devices so their movements can be ongoingly monitored by UNSW and WWF Australia in order to determine whether the reintroduction is a success. 


A Species Under Threat

As they’re so good at hide and seek, it’s not always obvious when platypus populations decline.

‘Shy and enigmatic, platypus are the silent victims of climate change. While their elusive behaviour keeps them from view, under the surface they are particularly susceptible to drought and environmental change,’ said Cameron Kerr from Taronga Conservation Society Australia.

The platypus has been locally extinct in the Royal National Park for 50 years. The species is under threat of habitat destruction and fragmentation, which puts them at greater risk of extinction when extreme weather events occur (*cough* climate change *cough*).

‘The iconic platypus is under immense pressure. The work that has gone into this project to get to the point of releasing these platypuses, is essential to assure the security of these species into the future,’ said NSW Environment Minister Penny Sharpe.

‘Translocation is just one conservation measure that can help ensure the survival of NSW species such as platypus against climate change.’

Next time you’re in the Royal Natio, keep your eyes peeled for the cutest little guys!




Photos thanks to R Freeman