PlatypusWatch

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PlatypusWatch
July 20, 2016 Projects No Comments

The platypus is one of Australia’s most amazing animals. Unfortunately, there is growing evidence that its numbers are declining. We urgently need to know where platypus live – where they are PlatypusWatchcommon and where they have disappeared.

Aims

PlatypusWatch is a community-based program that aims to document where platypus occur so that we can develop a reliable ‘snapshot’ of platypus populations.

We will use this information to identify where conservation actions are needed – now and in the future – to protect this very special animal.

Get involved

Why get involved?
Platypus survey 2019

Anchoring the tail end of fyke nets during a platypus survey. Image © Tamielle Brunt / Wildlife Queensland

Platypus live up and down the east coast of Australia and inland from the Dividing Range but we know little of how many live where.

With PlatypusWatch, if you live near where platypus live (in Queensland), you can watch out for these amazing monotremes and tell us what you see.

If we can find out where platypus live, we can help plan for appropriate development that is less likely to impact on our platypus populations. Our PlatypusWatch records are entered into a database that is used only for genuine conservation purposes.

Sharing your knowledge about platypus sightings with PlatypusWatch will not cause any problems for the animals concerned. Indeed, the biggest problem facing platypus conservation is human ignorance – starting with the fact that people are often unaware that their actions can have a major impact on animals living nearby.

How to get involved
  • Report a sighting: Have you ever seen a platypus in the wild? If so, you can make a valuable contribution to PlatypusWatch by telling us about your previous and recent sightings using the Platypus Watch Form.
  • Join a survey: Would you like to see a platypus in the wild? Come and join a platypus survey. Wildlife Queensland promotes community involvement in conservation and occasionally runs surveys to document local platypus populations. Contact us to find out more. You can also follow our PlatypusWatch Facebook page.
  • Share a story: If you have a story to share about where and when you saw a platypus, send it to Platypus Splashes along with a picture if you have one, and we may publish it on our website.

Mapping and modelling the distribution of platypus in Qld using environmental DNA

In 2016, Wildlife Queensland launched PlatyCount 2016, the first statewide platypus distribution census since 2001, to investigate a reduction over 20 years in observational records of platypus within Queensland. The funds raised from the PlatyCount 2016 campaign appeal allowed us to implement the environmental DNA (eDNA) project that PlatypusWatch has continued for the last 4 years.

Wildlife Queensland has been working with Australian ecological research and services consultancy, BioGeo, to map the distribution of platypus around Queensland. Using both observational data from the community and presence/absence data from eDNA, BioGeo is developing a model to help determine the habitat niche of the platypus which in turn can be used to help identify where they are likely to reside or where reintroductions would have the greatest likelihood of success – focusing conservation efforts.

Progress so far…

The below web map highlights where targeted eDNA samples have been taken over the three years from 2016-2018, along with information about each site, the number of copies of DNA found there, and when they were collected. Overlapping grid cells are coloured according to the mean number of copies of platypus DNA at each site across the grid cell and across years. The map also includes data from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) of recorded sightings of platypus over a 20-year period, from 1998-2018.

You can also open the map in a separate browser

Note: hover your mouse over the icon at the top right of the map to view the map key.

Latest news

July 2019 – Platypus survey, Samford Valley

Look at that little guy go! Our platypus warrior, Tamielle, was out surveying in the Samford Valley last night, 16 July, and got the first capture of the season. A sub-adult male. Video © @platypus_protector

 

2018 – 3 years of platypus eDNA surveys!

PlatypusWatch project officer, Tamielle Brunt, conducting eDNA sampling.

2018 marks PlatypusWatch’s third year of platypus eDNA surveys, and again we have the Ipswich City Council and Logan City Council on board to further investigate platypus populations in their relevant local government areas. Residual funds from our 2016 PlatyCount appeal and those kindly donated by Australian Geographic last year have enabled this important project for our platypus to continue.

2018 will see the PlatypusWatch team sample another 70 locations, at least, across the greater Brisbane region, helping to paint a clearer picture every day of the distribution of this elusive iconic species in this area.

 

Forms

Publications and information

  • Looking out for Platypus – contact us for your free brochure

Species profile

PlatypusWatch Groups

Since the launch of PlatypusWatch (previously known as PlatypusCare) by Wildlife Queensland in 2003, many groups, individuals and universities have embraced the focus on platypus by undertaking their own surveys, monitoring and research. Some are listed below.

 

For more information on WPSQ’s projects, email or phone +61 (7) 3844 0129.

 

Written by wildlife1ict

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