Platypus prepare for release at Taronga Wildlife Hospital

Recent rainfall has filled the waterways and ponds at the Reserve and the platypus can now return to thrive in their natural environment.

07 May 2020

Three platypus, that were moved to Taronga Zoo during the very dry bushfire season, have returned to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.

Their return kicks off a new tracking study partnership between Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, Taronga Zoo and UNSW. The research project will seek to better understand the movements and behaviours of these elusive creatures.

The platypus, released last week, were tagged with tracking devices during their stay at Taronga.

Tidbinbilla, Taronga and UNSW have turned this summer's devastating bushfire event into a significant opportunity for collaboration and research.

Tidbinbilla veterinarian Dr Arianne Lowe joined Taronga's head veterinarian Dr Larry Vogelnest and UNSW scientist Dr Gilad Bino for the procedure.

"The tracking project will provide never before studied insights into the habitat use, behaviour, and interactions of platypuses over an extensive time period (1.5 years)," Dr Gilad Bino said.

"Findings are anticipated to improve understanding of platypus habitat requirements not only specifically for Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve but also for the management of wild populations of platypus."

"We are thrilled to be able to release the first three platypus back to their home within the Reserve," said Taronga Wildlife Conservation Officer, Dr Phoebe Meagher.

"Increasingly, Taronga is being called upon to assist in these kinds of rescue missions because of our extensive experience in wild animal care and management and our commitment to conserving wildlife.”

"During their stay at Taronga our platypus keepers went above and beyond to keep these animals healthy and to ensure they kept their natural behaviours. They achieved this by limiting their contact with the Tidbinbilla platypus, supplying live food for active foraging and keeping them separate from Taronga's own animals," Dr Meagher concluded.

Tidbinbilla and other parks throughout the Canberra region are continuing to recover from a very challenging summer. It remains closed for public safety in response to COVID-19 and works are continuing to repair the damage from bushfire and floods.

Tidbinbilla is looking forward to being able to welcome visitors back to the reserve, to see the platypus, later in the year.

To keep up to date on ACT park and reserve closures, including Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, visit www.environment.act.gov.au

To find out about help, advice and support during the COVID-19 situation head to covid19.act.gov.au

All Canberra

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