Human Interest

Platypuses return to Australia’s oldest national park 50 years on

Sydney, Australia, May 15 (EFE).- The Royal National Park of Australia, the oldest in the country, was once again populated by the emblematic platypus, after about 50 years since it became locally extinct, official sources reported Monday.

Under a platypus repopulation program in the New South Wales region, whose capital is Sydney, a group of experts released five female specimens Friday of this endemic semi-aquatic mammal with a duck bill and beaver tail that lays eggs, into the Hawking River.

Four other male platypuses – which are characterized by having a poisonous spur – will be released next week in the National Park, according to a statement from the regional government of New South Wales published Monday.

These nine platypuses, captured in various parts of the region to ensure their genetic diversity, will be regularly monitored and tracked to ensure the success of this project in the Park.

In this Royal National Park, created in 1879 and the second oldest in the world, it is intended to establish a sanctuary to protect these emblematic Australian monotremes.

“Platypuses are the face of our streams and rivers, but we risk losing them forever if we don’t take bold steps to reverse their decline,” said Rob Brewster, director of the World Wildlife Fund’s Wildlife Repopulation Program in Australia.

WWF-Australia is participating in this project together with the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Taronga Australia Conservation Society and the University of New South Wales.

The university’s study published in 2020 revealed that the habitat of the platypus – located in eastern Australia and the island of Tasmania – has been reduced by 22 percent in the last 30 years, endangering its survival.

The destruction of platypus habitat is due to the construction of dams and excessive collection of water from rivers for agriculture, as well as the felling of trees, urban development and attacks by dogs and foxes.

Considered one of the most primitive mammals from an evolutionary point of view, the platypus or platypus has registered a decline in its population since the British colonization of the country at the end of the 18th century.

This species first arrived at the Natural History Museum in London in 1799, but faced with an animal with moleskin, beaver tail, webbed feet, rooster spurs, duck beak and teeth, British doctor George Shaw first thought it was a fraud, in disbelief at the existence of such an animal. EFE


Related Articles

Back to top button