New Figures Warn The Platypus Is Heading Towards The ‘Brink Of Extinction’
While the platypus may be one of Australia's most recognisable creatures, their future in the country hangs in the balance.
Researchers have released new figures that cast a bleak picture of platypus populations around Australia and have warned that the animals could end up on the 'brink of extinction'.
Platypus populations have at least halved since Europeans settled in the country, while dam building, land clearing and other disruptions have caused even more to die off.
A study published in the scientific journal Biological Conservation suggests that if more isn't done to help save platypus habitats then they could be wiped out altogether.
The researchers have looked at climate change projections for the next 50 years and reckon platypus populations could decline as much as 73 percent. The animals thrive in waterways and if predictions for the global climate come true, then there will be a hell of a lot less water for them to live in.
Lead author on the study Gilad Bino, a researcher at the University of NSW's Centre for Ecosystem Science, said: "These dangers further expose the platypus to even worse local extinctions with no capacity to repopulate areas.
"We are not monitoring what we assume to be a common species. And then we may wake up and realise it's too late."
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If these predictions for the platypus come true, then they will be on the 'brink of extinction'. The question is now pointing towards what we can do to help prevent this from happening.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has recently downgraded the conservation status of the platypus to 'near threatened', which means the animal is 'likely to become endangered in the near future'.
A spokesperson for Environment Minister Sussan Ley has told The Age: "Prior to this study, there has not been information collated to suggest that the platypus was threatened so it has not been assessed."
A spokesperson for the Victorian Environment Department also told the Victoria-based newspaper: "We're working with the federal government to determine whether the platypus should be listed as a threatened species at a national level."
Hopefully we can act now and prevent this beautifully weird animal from getting anywhere near extinction.
Featured Image Credit: PA