Platypus in the Yanco Creek system


By Susanne Watkins            
Senior Land Services Officer P: 02 6051 2234 | E:

A recent study by Yanco Creek and Tributaries Advisory Council (YACTAC) has confirmed the presence of platypus population in the Yanco Creek System. The study used environmental DNA technology to detect genetic material from platypus in the Yanco Creek System, supporting sightings by landholders in the area. The resident platypus population is thought to reside between Narrandera and Morundah in areas with good riverbank vegetation, instream habitat and high banks with sandy/loamy sections.

Platypus inhabit aquatic ecosystems in eastern Australia and are vulnerable to threatening processes such as loss of riverbank vegetation, changes in land management such as grazing, erosion and poor water quality. Although flow is important to the success of platypus breeding, they can survive dry times in isolated pools of water as long as there is a reliable source of food in the form of macroinvertebrates. The use of illegal nets and traps, inappropriate fishing practices and entanglement with litter have been responsible for platypus deaths, highlighting that there is much that we can do to ensure the survival of this species.

In 2016 the platypus’ conservation status changed from Least Concern to Near Threatened by the  International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to evidence of population decline and localised extinctions. Protection of waterways is key to reversing this trend, including

  • Protecting and restoring riverbank vegetation
  • Maintaining or restoring bank structure
  • Maintaining habitat features such as logs and branches in waterways
  • Checking with local fishing regulations for advice on the safe use of nets and traps
  • Picking up litter and cutting through metal or plastic loops before disposing of them

Residents in the Morundah area have the opportunity to learn more and celebrate this iconic species at a special event hosted by YACTAC on 16 and 17 June. Learn about platypus biology, the findings from the recent study in the Yanco Creek System and ideas on what you can do to help the conservation of platypus from guest speakers on Wednesday, 16 June. The following morning will be an opportunity to spot a platypus during a sunrise walk, followed by breakfast. For more information and to RSVP, please contact Andrea (YACTAC) - 0419 841 834 or Kathy T (Murrumbidgee Landcare Inc) - 0428 396 826.

Sampling for platypus genetic material on the Yanco Creek System

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