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Platypus Survey Uncovers Healthy Population in Werribee River

Werribee River Platypus

Image: Werribee River Association

  
   

Collaborative Effort by Melbourne Water, Ecology Australia, and WRA Reveals Positive Outlook for Elusive Aquatic Mammals

In a concerted effort to understand the population dynamics of the elusive platypus, a live-trapping survey was conducted on the night of Monday, August 14th, along the Werribee River. The initiative, made possible by Melbourne Water and executed by Ecology Australia, marked a significant step toward conserving this unique aquatic mammal.

The event was hosted by the Werribee River Association (WRA) at the Eco Living Centre in Wyndham Vale, where scientists and researchers gathered to embark on the survey. The WRA played a pivotal role in supporting the basic needs of the participating scientists, ensuring a conducive environment for the survey.

The survey covered a stretch of the river between Heaths Rd Werribee and the Maltby Bypass, where six net sites were strategically established. These sites were monitored diligently throughout the night to gain insights into the platypus activity in the area. This survey is part of a larger series spanning the period of 2022 to 2023, aimed at comprehensively understanding the behaviors and distribution of platypuses.

The results, collected and reported by Ecology Australia to Melbourne Water, revealed intriguing findings that shed light on the health and presence of these remarkable creatures. Among the highlights of the survey, a female platypus along with two males were successfully captured. All three individuals were found to be in good health, providing optimism about the condition of the local platypus population.

 

However, the survey yielded more than just platypus observations. The technique of live-trapping inadvertently allowed researchers to encounter other rare species residing in the same ecosystem. Among the notable bycatch were a lamprey, two Australian Grayling, and a long-finned eel. These unexpected discoveries serve as a reminder of the intricate web of life that thrives within the Werribee River and emphasizes the importance of preserving this delicate habitat.

The collaborative efforts of Melbourne Water, Ecology Australia, and the Werribee River Association underline the dedication of organizations and communities to safeguarding the biodiversity of the region. By conducting such surveys and shedding light on the rich diversity of species that call the Werribee River home, strides can be made toward informed conservation strategies.

As the 2022-2023 survey series continues, it is hoped that these insights will further inform efforts to protect the habitats and creatures that make the Werribee River ecosystem truly unique. The platypus survey stands as a testament to the value of cross-disciplinary collaboration and a shared commitment to the preservation of our natural world.

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