The iconic platypus is emerging as a silent victim during the wildlife crisis Australia is currently experiencing due to drought and bushfires, with the species' dire situation becoming apparent after Aussie Ark staff visited known platypus hot spots and making horrible discoveries.
During the last few weeks, Aussie Ark has relocated nine platypus in total.
Staff discovered two deceased specimens and have taken five into care. The platypus in care are now recovering, gaining weight and being assessed for re-release. However, their future in the wild remains uncertain.
The platypus' distribution range is throughout the entire fire ground on the east coast of Australia, including the Manning catchment, and the species is suffering from the effects of fire, and catastrophic effects of drought, climate change as well as the unregulated pumping of water from rivers.
The shattering loss of platypus will be unfathomable with deceased animals estimated to be numbering thousands if not tens of thousands.
Platypus to this point have been unsung heroes, as one of only three species of monotreme found in the world the others being the short-beaked echidna and the New Guinea long-beaked echidna.
All three of these species have survived in the wild in the face of adversity, where other mammals have been lost.
Unfortunately, this has all changed due to recent catastrophic conditions.
Platypus numbers in the wild were already in decline, and current populations will have been catastrophically and perhaps irreversibly affected by fire and drought.Tim Faulkner, president Aussie Ark
"The loss of platypus life is devastating. They are truly a unique and wonderous animal, quite literally found nowhere else on the planet. An Aussie icon!" Aussie Ark president Tim Faulkner said.
"Platypus numbers in the wild were already in decline, and current populations will have been catastrophically and perhaps irreversibly affected by fire and drought.
"Currently, several organisations including Aussie Ark and the Australian Reptile Park have rescued and released a number of platypus to deeper water, while other individuals too weak for release have been bought into care, where they are continuing to recover well.
"Aussie Ark is calling for a regional, collective approach to help save the iconic species," Tim Faulkner said.
Aussie Ark, a not-for-profit organisation, will continue to monitor, rescue and intervene where necessary to ensure a future for the platypus.
"Caring for the animals is critical but expensive. We need all the help we can get and are calling on the community for their help," Tim Faulkner said.
The public can help support Aussie Ark in their crusade by donating through the website www.aussieark.org.au.
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