cesar teams up with San Diego Zoo Global

In 2018 cesar will bring its platypus monitoring expertise to a new, large scale platypus project.

It is hoped that the results of this study—the largest-scale investigation of platypus populations ever undertaken— will help people better manage waterways to protect platypus and other species that depend on them.

“What we are trying to do here is understand how populations are going at a landscape scale,” says Josh Griffiths, Senior Wildlife Ecologist, at cesar.

“Unfortunately, relatively little is known about the current status or trajectory of platypus populations across their range, with climate change and human population growth expected to significantly impact the iconic species.”

Recently, the International Union for Conservation of Nature changed the status of the platypus from a Species of Least Concern to Near Threatened.

This new project is especially important, to ensure that the platypus does not become more endangered in the future.

 “Most people don’t know that platypus populations are on the decline,” said Bob Wiese, Ph.D., Chief Life Sciences Officer, San Diego Zoo Global.

“We want to work with our collaborators, figure out major threats and bring them back before it gets critical.”

San Diego Zoo Global has previously contributed to koala and Tasmanian devil conservation efforts in Australia and is beginning this new platypus project with the intent of doing long-term research on the species.

Apart from cesar and San Diego Zoo Global, project partners include the University of Melbourne, Taronga Zoo, the Victorian Government and the New South Wales Government.

cesar are leaders in platypus research in Australia. For more than a decade, with funding from agencies such as Melbourne Water, cesar has integrated extensive knowledge of platypus ecology with field techniques and population genetics to develop new and innovative ways to improve our understanding and conservation of this iconic species. This work has included understanding population trajectories and viability, investigating responses to environmental disturbances, identifying conservation threats, conducting habitat assessments, and developing management plans.

The cesar managed online platform, platypusSPOT supplies the public with important platypus conservation information and gives citizen scientists the chance to report a platypus sighting.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is made accessible to children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting research initiative, including information on the cutting edge technology that will be used as part of this project!

Cover image: Photo by Josh Griffiths, Cesar Australia

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