A study by the University of New South Wales released by on 20 January 2020 and published in the Biological Conservation journal suggests that platypus could be extinct, depending on a level of drought leading to a loss of habitat.
Alarmingly, the study estimates that platypus populations have been wiped out entirely in 40 per cent of their previous habitat.
The platypus, sometimes referred to as the duck-billed platypus, is a semiaquatic egg-laying mammal endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania.
The destruction of habitat caused by dam building, land clearing and drought was named in the study as the biggest threats to the platypus.
Combined with the impact of projected climate change, the research predicted the population would shrink by 51 per cent to 73 per cent by 2070.
Platypuses have been found dead in dried up creeks in NSW due to drought and human activity such as damming and water harvesting, threats from feral species in national parks, and the impacts of livestock.
The lead author of the UNSW study, Gilad Bino, said action must be taken now to prevent the platypus from disappearing from our waterways.
A spokesperson for Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley was quoted as saying the platypus is not currently listed as threatened under national environmental law.
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