Can the platypus save our rivers Lessons from across Australia

Sydney Water

16 January 2024

The Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) is a truly unique animal that is fascinating to scientists and nature enthusiasts alike. Since colonisation, we have had limited insights into our impact on their distribution and abundance. However, the recent advent of environmental DNA analysis provides us with a non-invasive way to uncover if platypus are present in our local waterways.

The platypus is a true marvel of nature. Apart from being one of only two monotreme (egg laying mammal) species left in the world, the male platypus has a venomous spur on its back legs, they fluoresce under UV light, and they have many intriguing adaptive features that have allowed them to live in freshwater streams.

As we further urbanise we are impacting on their habitat, changing both the flow dynamics and water quality, which, in turn, affects their food supply – aquatic macroinvertebrates.

This webinar has hand-picked case studies from across South Australia, Tasmania, Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales where the elusive platypus is driving change in waterway management. Come along and hear about some fascinating research on the good and bad impacts of urbanisation, the desire to re-introduce platypus back to the River Torrens in South Australia, and how Victoria is using smart water tanks to improve platypus habitat, when they need it most.

This webinar is presented as part of the National WSUD Community of Practice webinar series.