A quarter of platypus residing in the Werribee River have been injured by litter, according to experts who are calling for better care of the “iconic” Australian animal.
During a live–trapping survey conducted by Australian Platypus Conservancy (APC) and Ecology Australia biologists, several platypus were found in dangerous positions with rubbish wrapped around them.
One platypus was saved last month with a plastic ring about 5cm in diameter tightly fastened around its neck, which the biologists noted “would have died had we not been able to get it off before it caused serious injury”.
The Werribee River Association reported that in 1998, 16 platypus were caught in live trappings between Shaws Bridge and Maltby Bypass.
However, the latest survey results are much lower in number, with several platypus found entangled by rubbish. The Werribee River Association wrote that data suggests that 15% of platypus in the area have died or been injured from litter entanglement.
The APC survey also reported that “a second female captured on the same night had deep scars on both sides of her neck — evidence of previous litter entanglement in which the item would have fortuitously come apart before the animal was killed by its worsening injuries”.
Results of the survey revealed that over 1.5 percent of platypus near Melbourne are in danger of being injured or killed due to rubbish in the rivers.
It is essential to take action to protect the platypus – as individuals, communities, and government. Otherwise, the platypus will not survive.