26 September 2023

Canberrans called to count platypuses

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Canberrans are being encouraged to pick up a pair of binoculars and join Waterwatch volunteers to help monitor the ACT’s platypuses for the ninth annual Platypus Month this month, August.

Calling on Canberrans to get involved, Minister for Water, Shane Rattenbury said data collected during the Month would help improve understanding of the iconic Australian mammals.

“With over 300 spots to fill across 34 one-hour surveys, now is the perfect time to join our citizen-scientists and ecologists,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“Late winter is the ideal time for spotting these much-loved mammals as they spend more time feeding and the males are out preparing for the breeding season,” he said.

“Despite the impacts from COVID-19 over the past few years, we have seen the community’s support and enthusiasm for this special month, so I encourage Canberrans to sign up to take part in these important surveys.”

Mr Rattenbury said the University of Canberra would conduct more traditional population surveys on platypuses this year at three of the ACT’s monitoring sites.

“These additional surveys will offer a useful comparison point to our regular surveys and help us better interpret our results over time,” he said.

Regional Facilitator at Waterwatch, Woo O’Reilly said the Waterwatch team was disappointed to cut Platypus Month short in 2021 due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

“These surveys give us really important data and I am so grateful for the help we receive from such a dedicated and supportive community,” Ms O’Reilly said.

“We are really looking forward to welcoming everyone back so that we can see how the platypus in our region have fared over the past two years.”

She said people cold also contribute to the data collection by reporting sightings though Waterwatch’s Platy and Ratty Portal.

Further information on the platypus surveys can be accessed at this PS News link and Waterwatch’s Platty and Ratty Potal at this link.

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