Help us protect one of our most iconic species, the Platypus; now officially a threatened species listed as Vulnerable in Victoria

Australia’s recent bushfires and drought have taken a toll on our already Vulnerable Platypus. Sadly, they are disappearing from our rivers and creeks at an alarming rate.

Unless we take decisive action now to change their future.

Our unique Platypus

photographed by Amie Hindson

Platypus are unique and precious to Australia – and one of the most unusual and wondrous creatures on Earth. They are as ancient as dinosaurs, and almost as elusive to scientists. It’s rare to spot a Platypus in the wild because they are nocturnal and shy creatures. 

We still don’t yet know enough about our incredible, iconic, irreplaceable platypus. What we do know is they are in far more trouble than we previously thought.

While Platypus move around and burrow on land, they only feed in water. When those waterways shrink, fewer Platypus can survive. Platypus populations were already suffering with the drought drying up their water bodies. Then the widespread bushfires further degraded their habitat.

Healesville Sanctuary’s World of Platypus, has been at the forefront of connecting people with Platypus ever since it first opened in 1994.

During the summer bushfires of 2019/20, Healesville Sanctuary was asked to take in Platypus that had been rescued from the wild needing treatment and care while both they and their habitat recovered.

Even though Healesville Sanctuary is uniquely placed to care for this Vulnerable species, as we have the knowledge and skills, at present we do not have the most up-to-date facilities to do this and, tragically, we could not fully assist.

At the Sanctuary we need to improve our facilities as well as further increase our staff capacity. We also plan to undertake essential research into the biology and behaviour of Platypus so that we can take the necessary action to protect this species for future generations.

Will you join us to improve our capacity to save this iconic species?

Have you heard about Healesville Sanctuary’s Fighting Extinction Dog Squad?

Detection dogs not only carefully sniff out endangered species in the wild, helping us to monitor their numbers, but for the first time ever, we are trialling using the help of detection dogs in our endangered species captive breeding programs.

We have plans to trial using detection dogs in Platypus conservation. This project will be a world first and will help us to better understand the way Platypus live in the wild. The project will see the dogs working to detect both young Platypus but also their elusive parents – something never before undertaken. We will use this information to provide the most natural care for our Healesville Sanctuary Platypus.

This is our chance to get this iconic Australian species off the path to extinction, but we can only make a difference with your support.

World of the Platypus webinar

Join science and zoo experts for a free Conservation Conversations webinar and hear insider knowledge and behind-the-scenes stories about the world of the platypus.