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Monday, June 24, 2024

World-first platypus rescue centre opens in Dubbo

The world’s largest purpose-built platypus conservation centre has been opened at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, providing a world-class refuge for wild platypus.

The state-of-the-art Platypus Rescue HQ can house up to 65 platypus during severe environmental events such as droughts, bushfires and floods.

The facility combines rescue and rehabilitation facilities, a research centre to study platypus behaviour and a pre-release area to prepare recovered platypus for return to the wild.

It also houses a public, purpose-built platypus habitat, where guests will be able to see and learn more about this cryptic monotreme for the first time at Taronga Western Plains Zoo. It will provide behind-the-scenes insight into modern conservation and research.

“Shy and enigmatic, platypus are the silent victims of climate change, with their decline largely hidden from public view,” said Taronga Conservation Society Australia CEO, Cameron Kerr AO.

“This new, purpose-built facility will bring together global experts, paving the way to truly understand this cryptic species and ensure our emblem species can not only survive, but thrive in the wild.”

Construction of the new $12.1 million Platypus Rescue HQ facility was jointly funded by the NSW Government, Taronga Conservation Society Australia and philanthropic donors.

“We’re so grateful for the support of the NSW Government, as well as our generous donors including San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance and WIRES, who have enabled this vision to become a reality and for our guests to come eye-to-eye with a platypus and see conservation in action,” said Mr Kerr.

Platypus Rescue HQ will allow researchers and staff to refine the conservation strategy for platypus by filling knowledge gaps across the species’ breeding behaviour, biology and genetics.

The new centre will see cutting-edge research delivered in partnership with the University of NSW’s Centre for Ecosystem Science thanks to support from San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance and WIRES.

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