New tests have revealed platypus DNA in the Wingecarribee River at Joadja.
Earlier this year the Wingecarribee Shire Council environment and sustainability took water and soil samples along the Wingecarribee River in the hopes of identifying the presence of platypuses in the area.
Six sites around Bowral, Glenquarry and Joadja were sampled using Environmental DNA (eDNA) testing.
Joadja proved to be the most fruitful and showed promising signs of platypus, with all three Joadja locations returning a positive result.
eDNA testing is an unobtrusive survey tool used to evaluate the presence or absence of a certain protected species.
Together with community reports of platypus sightings, the council hopes to to improve its understanding of this iconic species through the Southern Highlands Platypus Conservation Project.
The Southern Highlands Platypus Conservation Project aims to gain a better understanding of platypus distribution, habitat, status and threats throughout the Southern Highlands.
For platypus conservation to succeed, it is important that people realise that platypus populations require healthy creek and river ecosystems to survive, and that individual actions have a real impact, for better or worse, on the survival of platypus populations.
The main threats to platypus include:
- Litter (circular items such as hair ties and rubber bands should be snipped before disposal)
- Irresponsible fishing practises (ie: drowning in yabby nets or hooked on unattended fishing lines)
- Clearing of riparian habitat for urbanisation and agriculture
- Poor water quality caused by urban and agricultural runoff
- Riverbank damage and erosion
- Dams and weirs
- Water extraction
- Predation by introduced predators
To get involved in the conservation project, residents are asked to report their platypus sightings here.
Did you know the Southern Highland News is now offering breaking news alerts and a weekly email newsletter? Keep up-to-date with all the local news: sign up below.