Update on platypuses reintroduced to Royal National Park

Six months after the historic reintroduction of platypuses to Royal National Park south of Sydney, the iconic Australian animals are thriving in their new habitat.

Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) being released at Royal National Park by a group of people

Ten platypuses were released in May, after being locally extinct for 50 years. Each of them carries an acoustic tag which pings listening receivers up and down the rivers of the Royal.

The latest data show nine of the ten animals are adapting well to their environment. The tenth platypus has ventured beyond the team’s tracking capabilities, which she has done before, and the team is confident she is exploring creeks she has previously visited.

Visitors to the Royal National Park are now regularly reporting platypus sightings. This underscores the value of conservation efforts in connecting people with nature and raising awareness about the importance of preserving Australia's unique wildlife.

This project is a collaboration between the Platypus Conservation Initiative (UNSW Sydney), WWF-Australia, NSW National Parks Wildlife Service and Taronga Conservation Society. The project is guided by a commitment to preserving the Royal National Park’s unique biodiversity and supporting the long-term success of the platypus population.

Plans are underway to conduct comprehensive surveys in the park next year to assess the breeding success and overall health of the platypus population. The goal is to confirm whether the reintroduced platypuses have successfully reared young, which would mark another milestone in this ambitious conservation project.

Quote attributable to Minister for Climate Change and the Environment Penny Sharpe

'These wonderful native animals are facing multiple threats in the wild, and there is an increasing need to actively manage their conservation for the ongoing survival of their populations.

'After taking part in the reintroduction program in the Royal National Park six months ago, I am thrilled to hear they are thriving in their new habitat and venturing deep into the park.'

Quote attributable to Lead Researcher Dr Gilad Bino, UNSW’s Centre for Ecosystem Science

'The reintroduction has exceeded our expectations. The platypuses have adapted exceptionally well to the Royal National Park, a testament to the robustness of both the species and the habitat.

'We are closely monitoring the one platypus which has ventured beyond our monitoring capacity, but she will no doubt reconnect soon.'

Quote attributable to platypus researcher Dr Tahneal Hawke, Centre of Ecosystem Science

'Recent water quality and macro-invertebrate surveys show the system is in generally good condition, offering suitable resources for the platypuses. As they enter their breeding season, we are optimistic they will breed.'

Quote attributable to WWF-Australia conservation ecologist Patrick Giumelli

'Our tracking data is providing fascinating insights into how the platypuses are interacting with their new habitat. We’re learning so much from these ten animals that will help inform future reintroductions of the species.

'We need to take these bold actions to reverse the decline of this Australian icon and secure its future.'