Canberrans are encouraged to pick up a pair of binoculars and join Waterwatch volunteers to help monitor platypuses at dusk and dawn for the ninth annual Platypus Month.
“With over 300 spots to fill across 34 one-hour surveys, now is the perfect time to join our citizen-scientists and ecologists to collect data that will improve our understanding of these iconic Australian mammals,” Minister for Water Shane Rattenbury said.
“Late winter is the ideal time for spotting these much-loved mammals as they spend more time feeding and the males are out preparing for the breeding season.
“Despite the impacts from COVID-19 over the past few years, we have seen the community’s support and enthusiasm for this special month, so I encourage Canberrans to sign up to take part in these important surveys.
“This year, the University of Canberra will be conducting some more traditional population surveys on platypus at three of our monitoring sites. These additional surveys will offer a useful comparison point to our regular surveys and help us better interpret our results over time.”
Find out how you can get involved in Platypus Month on the Waterwatch website.
Quotes attributable to Woo O’Reilly, Regional Facilitator at Waterwatch:
“We were so disappointed to cut Platypus Month short in 2021 due to COVID lockdown. These surveys give us really important data and I am so grateful for the help we receive from such a dedicated and supportive community. We are really looking forward to welcoming everyone back so that we can see how the platypus in our region have fared over the past two years.”
If you spot a platypus when you’re out and about, you can also record the sighting through Waterwatch’s ‘Platy and Ratty’ Portal. If you want to stay up to date, this portal is also a great tool to view other people’s sightings as well as the survey results. With term three underway, primary school teachers might also like to check out the Waterwatch K-6 education materials titled ‘Looking for Platypus’.