Rescued platypuses return after rainfall replenishes waterways

By Australian Geographic 4 May 2020
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The platpuses were rescued from drying waterways in Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve in December.

THREE PLATYPUSES rescued from Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve in Canberra during Australia’s catastrophic bushfire season have been returned to the wild.

Seven platypuses were rescued from the waterways in December after extended dry conditions caused the water to evaporate, leaving the platypuses with nowhere to go. 

Over the past four months, the platypuses have been building up their strength at Taronga Zoo, and last week, three were deemed ready to return.

According to Taronga, rainfall has since replenished the waterways within Tidbinbilla and it is now safe to return the animals.

“During the platypuses stay at Taronga our keepers ensured the animals were healthy and that they maintained their natural behaviours,” said Taronga Wildlife Conservation Officer Dr Phoebe Meagher.

“They achieved this by limiting their contact with the Tidbinbilla platypuses, supplying live food for active foraging and keeping them separate from Taronga’s own animals.

Watch as an official from Taronga releases one of the platypuses back into the wild.

Phoebe said, from a research perspective, having the platypuses at Taronga allowed them to collect samples during their health checks that she says will contribute to the body of knowledge on this species.

Before the release of the platypuses, they were fitted with tracking devices so scientists from both Taronga and UNSW could further monitor their movements.

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