Webinar series: World of the Platypus

Join science and zoo experts for the World of Platypus Conservation Conversations webinar and hear insider knowledge and behind-the-scenes stories.

Platypus have recently been declared Vulnerable in the wild. This is an opportunity for us to work together to care for this unique and iconic species. Be inspired by visionary plans and discover what is already being done to ensure that the platypus is always part of our wild future.

Meet the people behind some of Australia's most exciting conservation programs as they share their experiences out in the field and on the front line.


Wednesday 10 November, 2021


6pm - 7pm AEDT



Photographed by Amie Hindson


Registration for this webinar series has closed.

About the speakers

Dr. Jessica Thomas

Dr. Jessica Thomas oversees the platypus husbandry program at Healesville Sanctuary, a world-renowned facility in platypus breeding, care, and research. As a senior keeper, she manages the platypus care programs at the Sanctuary, overseeing their behaviour, diet, nutrition, health, and exhibit environment.

In 2018, Dr. Thomas earned a PhD from the University of Melbourne, where she studied the breeding biology of the platypus. She also investigated burrow use by juvenile platypuses in their natal home range and maternal care of platypus nestlings.  Her research also extends to behavioural enrichment for platypuses to enhance animal welfare in zoos.

Jess is also the platypus studbook keeper as well as a species coordinator for the Zoo and Aquarium Association.

Brendan Wintle

Brendan Wintle is Professor of Conservation Ecology at the University of Melbourne and Director of Australia’s NESP Threatened Species Recovery Research Hub. He develops quantitative methods to support conservation decision-making and policy.

He teaches Applied Ecology and Environmental Risk Assessment. He publishes on monitoring design, cost-efficient conservation spending, actions for preventing extinction, and species distributions under environmental change.  

Brendan was co-author of a paper that found there is an urgent need to implement national conservation efforts for the platypus by increasing surveys, tracking trends, mitigating threats and improving management of platypus habitat in rivers.

Dr La Toya Jamieson

Dr La Toya Jamieson is a Wildlife Detection Dog Officer at Zoos Victoria and Post-graduate research supervisor at La Trobe University.

Her PhD research investigated factors that influence detection dog team success, including the positive effect of a strong dog-handler bond and the influence a dog's breed has on training time and detection success.

As part of the Fighting Extinction Wildlife Detection Dog Program at Healesville Sanctuary, La Toya will be partnering with the detection dogs to trial data collection for Platypus conservation. This project will be a world first and will help us to better understand the way platypus live in the wild.

About the host

Ross Williamson

Ross Williamson’s career reflects his life-long passion for conserving Australia’s natural environment. In a variety of roles including biologist, planner, park ranger and manager, Ross worked for Parks Victoria and the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning for over 30 years.

Ross Williamson joined Zoos Victoria in 2015 as General Manager Threatened Species, and since 2017 has held the position of Director at Healesville Sanctuary.

Healesville Sanctuary has been the cultural home of the platypus since it opened in 1934, bringing people and platypus together. As Director, Ross will lead the reimagining and restoration of the World of Platypus and the Tales from Platypus Creek to create The Australian Platypus Conservation Centre to ensure that we do not lose this unique and iconic species.

Together we can protect our natural world of wildlife.