Platypuses thrive in new habitat within Sydney’s Royal National Park
We recently brought you the story of a collaboration between field biologists and zoo vets who, together in May 2023, reintroduced a population of platypuses into Sydney’s Royal National Park.
The latest monitoring of the reintroduced platypuses has now revealed nine out of 10 of the animals have remained inside the Hacking River – with one itinerant female venturing beyond the scientists’ tracking capabilities. But according to Dr Gilad Bino, platypus ecologist from UNSW’s Centre for Ecosystem Science and lead researcher of the platypus translocation program, this isn’t cause for concern, as the same platypus has wandered out of range before, when she explored the small creeks surround Hacking River.
“We are closely monitoring the one platypus which has ventured beyond our monitoring capacity, but she will no doubt reconnect soon,” Gilad said.
The 10 platypuses – six females and four males – were released into the national park as part of the Platypus Reintroduction Project, to help revive the park’s platypus population. All 10 platypuses were taken from the wild, with most translocated from the Monaro region of the Snowy Mountains, with a pit-stop at Taronga Zoo’s Platypus Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, where they received health checks and were implanted with acoustic tags for tracking.
The platypuses’ first three months in the field exceeded the ecologists’ expectations, with all 10 surviving – and thriving – in their new home.
The successful translocation of the platypuses has sparked interest in running similar initiatives across Australia.
“Recent water quality and macro-invertebrate surveys show the system is in generally good condition, offering suitable resources for the platypuses,” said Dr Tahneal Hawke, from UNSW’S Centre of Ecosystem Science. “As they enter their breeding season, we are optimistic they will breed.”
The Platypus Reintroduction Project is a multi-organisation initiative collaboration between UNSW, WWF-Australia, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, and Taronga Conservation Society.
RELATED STORY: How to rebuild a platypus population