The latest report on the Platypus Monitoring Program across Ipswich’s waterways has revealed a concerning discovery: the platypus population has severely declined and immediate intervention is needed to address threats to the iconic monotreme’s continued survival.
The results of the 2021-2022 Platypus Monitoring Program mark the sixth monitoring event undertaken by the Council across Ipswich’s waterways in the last seven years.
This year’s report noted a “severe decline in the platypus populations” adding that it is “concerning and emphasises some key threats” to the health of the city’s waterways and the importance of the ongoing improvement programs.
Recommendations to implement programs that will help protect the remaining platypus population have been put forward.
Council has agreed to investigate and support programs that will reduce sediment-laden runoff entering the city’s natural waterways and adversely impacting platypus habitat.
Likewise, the ongoing annual platypus monitoring program, as well as the waterway health projects meant to improve water quality and condition of platypus habitat, will also be continued.
The 2022 February severe weather event that hit South East Queensland and NSW has sparked calls for the platypus to be included in the country’s threatened species list following fears that the monotreme population have been wiped out by the floods.
Ipswich City Council identified the platypus as an iconic species under its Nature Conservation Strategy 2015; Queensland and New South Wales are yet to classify the animal as threatened.
To help better understand the species, following a noticed decline in recorded sightings in recent years, Council partnered with the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland to create a database that contains sightings and eDNA recordings of this egg-laying mammal.
Results of the monitoring program between 2015 and 2020 identified several locations of their within and adjacent to the Ipswich LGA including Sapling Pocket to Kholo Bridge in the mid-Brisbane River; Woogaroo Creek and Opossum Creek; and Sandy Creek, Camira through to BullockHead Creek and Wolston Creek in Brisbane.
Platypus is considered to be an integral part of Australian freshwater ecosystems but their habitat is prone to threats. They are also rarely successfully bred in captivity which makes it all the more important to protect their habitat and their population.