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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Canberrans to count on platypus

Canberrans are being called on to help count platypus numbers in the Territory’s rivers and wetlands, as the ACT celebrates Platypus Month.

Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Mick Gentleman said the annual count helped to inform land managers and researchers about the population status of the elusive native animals.

“The Platypus Month annual survey continues to grow in popularity every year,” said Mr Gentleman.

“Last year over 170 volunteers participated in surveys at 22 sites across the region.

“This year we’ve expanded the number of sites to 34 locations, including Jerrabomberra Wetlands, the Molonglo River near Coppins Crossing, and on the Murrumbidgee River at Point Hut Crossing.”

He said everyone was welcome to help and no prior experience was required.

“The one-hour surveys take place in mornings and afternoons, so you don’t need to be an early riser to take part. Warm clothes, binoculars and a watch or phone is all that volunteers are required to bring on the day.”

Regional Waterwatch Facilitator, Woo O’Reilly said opportunities to view platypus were also available to those interested in the species.

“For those who can’t make the surveys, but who would like to see a platypus, Waterwatch is also hosting a free walk from 7am to 8am on Sunday 9 August starting from the Isabella Street footbridge in Queanbeyan. No RSVP is necessary,” said Ms O’Reilly.

“If you spot a platypus outside of survey times, report the sighting to waterwatch@act.gov.au. Please include the time, date, location and any notes about behaviour and habitat.”

If you’re interested in helping out with the surveys, email waterwatch@act.gov.au.

More information about survey times and Waterwatch survey is on their website: www.act.waterwatch.org.au.

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