We’re calling on everyone to keep an eye out for the elusive platypus and get involved in the new community driven www.platypusSPOT.org
platypusSPOT is an online tool that collects the vast wealth of community information on platypus sightings and makes this information publicly accessible. It’s about raising awareness of where platypuses occur and threats to their conservation.
platypusSPOT allows wildlife enthusiasts to contribute their sightings (past or present) of platypuses, upload photos, view sightings in their local area, and interact with other ‘platypusSPOTters’. There is also information on conservation threats to platypuses to stimulate discussion around what individuals and communities can do to help platypus conservation in their area - check out the Learning Centre. So if you’ve been fortunate enough to spot a platypus in your neighbourhood, or further afield, report it on platypusSPOT and play a role in increasing our understanding and aid conservation of this amazing animal.
Acknowledging the need to build more information and to increase public engagement in platypus, cesar and Melbourne Water have partnered to develop this innovative new website.
For the past six years, cesar and Melbourne Water have collaborated to undertake intensive research and population monitoring of platypuses in and around Melbourne. As a result of this work and historical data, we now have a much better understanding of platypus population trends at a number key locations across the greater Melbourne area and the potential conservation threats they face. While a lot of valuable information has been gathered, its clear that if we want to improve management and conservation outcomes for the platypus we need to know more about its distribution and occurrences. Platypuses are very difficult to study in the wild due to their aquatic and nocturnal lifestyle, high mobility and relatively low density. Live-trapping surveys are extremely time and labour intensive (as those who have volunteered with us will know!), which can limit data collection. By capturing platypus sightings, platypusSPOT allows everyone to be involved in building information about the platypus.
A common misconception about platypuses is that they are only found in relatively pristine waterways. In fact, platypuses are widely distributed throughout many urban waterways across Melbourne. Many residents are completely unaware that they are lucky enough to have platypuses in their local creek or river. We believe that increasing awareness through platypusSPOT of where platypuses occur and the threats that may impact populations is a key step towards improving conservation outcomes, particularly in urban areas.