It’s the first confirmed Sydney population of our favourite monotreme (soz echidnas) for 25 years.


Earlier this month the Cattai Hills Environment Network (CHEN) set out to confirm their suspicion: there was a platypus population hiding right under their noses in the Cattai Creek catchment.

DNA evidence and reported sightings are good, but the group needed to actually capture a wild platypus to confirm things.

With the help of Dr Michelle Ryan from Sydney University, the team were able to confirm the existence of the population (peep the footage on the ABC) and now believe that up to 18 platypus are calling the creek system home. What legends!

The platypus is a known indicator species and generally is one of the first species to disappear when pollution impacts their habitat and food chain. This is great news for the waterway, which runs from Castle Hill to the Hawkesbury River, but also has CHEN concerned. Development of up to 33,000 new homes is planned for the area.


Platypus were returned to the Royal National Park in May this year | Photo by R Freeman via NSW NPWS

What’s being done to protect these platypuses?

So how do you protect a platypus population within urban Sydney? (Apart from ensuring a steady flow of tiny lattes and activewear.)

The Hills council has launched a series of talks and bushcare events (there’s one this Sunday!) aimed at educating the community on how to protect their waterways, and hopefully strengthen them. Make sure you get involved if you live out that way, they’re all free!

According to ecologist Dr Michelle Ryan, you don’t have to live on a waterway to help protect the platypus (or other natives for that matter). Minimising the impact of your stormwater makes a massive difference. Avoid letting lawn clippings, detergent, or rubbish flow down the drain.

But the biggest impact’s always going to be development, so we’ll be keeping a close eye on how the government plans to protect these Sydney platypuses as the region grows.


Feature photo by Trevor Mckinnon via Unsplash