The platypus has been added to Victoria’s threatened species list and classed as vulnerable, prompting the Victorian Government to take action to try and protect the Australian icon.
$250,000 will go immediately towards restoration works at key habitat sites while a further $50,000 will be used to develop a long-term action plan to ensure the future of the unique mammal.
Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio will in March convene a state-wide forum of experts to help support existing platypus conservation work as well as identifying new opportunities.
“The platypus is one of our most loved species, known the world over as a symbol of Australia’s unique wildlife – that’s why we need to act quickly to address increasing pressure on its habitat and ensure the best outcome for this wonderful creature,” she said.
The Platypus Management Plan will guide longer term investment in research and monitoring, habitat protection and restoration and population augmentation including re-populating suitable rivers and creeks and enhancing genetic diversity through translocation, according to the State Government.
Many platypus populations in Victoria intersect with Melbourne’s peri-urban areas where population growth and urban sprawl has impacted on the waterways they rely on for habitat. Prolonged drought in rural areas has also had an impact on their numbers.
In 2019 the Victorian Government announced a ban on opera house yabby nets and other closed freshwater crayfish traps to prevent accidental platypus drownings.
In a bid to protect the state’s unique biodiversity more than $580,000 in grants will be shared between 13 projects for iconic species including the Spotted Tree Frog, the Southern Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby, and the Orange-bellied Parrot.