Photo © Jo Ariel
July 2014 - PlatypusWatch on 10 again
Wildlife Queensland’s PlatypusWatch program will feature again on Network Ten when the platypus documentary, ‘The One and Only’ airs Saturday, 16 August at 3pm on Network Ten’s Channel One.
Having appeared earlier in the year on the children’s series ‘Totally Wild’, the footage shot at a PlatypusWatch event at Lagoon Creek in January is being used again by Channel Ten to inform viewers about the platypus’ history and evolution, the threats it faces and the frontline work being carried out to protect it.
“In November 2013, Network Ten’s documentary unit embarked on a three-month research project to develop an hour-long documentary on one of the world’s most curious creatures,” says Jo Ariel of the Documentary Unit, Network Ten.
“[In the documentary] we talk with experts at the Australian Platypus Conservancy, visit Healesville Sanctuary and the largest captive population of platypus in the world, and go on survey with Holly Bryant from the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland to find out how the widespread use of yabby traps is killing more and more of these beautiful monotremes”.
According to Holly Bryant, Wildlife Queensland Senior Projects Officer, “The filming was a great opportunity to spread our message about banning opera house traps. It was also great timing as we’d planned to use a camera at this event to explore a platypus burrow to see if it was active”.
“After filming our interviews and the burrow camera, Channel Ten came to our workshop and filmed some of that, which was very exciting for our volunteers and the community,” said Holly.
‘The One and Only’ will no doubt capture the passion Ariel shares with Wildlife Queensland for the platypus. “While it’s not listed as endangered, it is in trouble, and we [humans] are one of its biggest threats,” she says. “It’s an Australian icon … yet there is still so much to learn about this elusive and strange looking creature which scientists call a ‘living fossil’”.
One of many platypus sightings at 13 July survey
Photo © Ross McClymont
Don’t miss ‘The One and Only’ on 16 August on Network Ten’s Channel One.
Perfect day for PlatypusWatchers
PlatypusWatchers were delighted and encouraged by no less than 12 platypus sightings at a recent survey in the Moreton Bay Region. On Sunday, 13 July, while a PlatypusWatch working bee was happening simultaneously at Lagoon Creek, three members of the Wildlife Queensland Moreton Bay Branch elected to survey future sites in the Moreton Bay Region.
Their forward thinking was rewarded with no less than 12 sightings of platypus in the river - one of which was close enough to photograph - where logs and fallen branches provide important habitat for small aquatic invertebrates eaten by platypus. Carole Green points out that the 12 sightings may not have meant there were 12 separate platypus in the area; they play and resurface for air after a short time and usually feed on the surface.
A pair of azure kingfishers topped off a perfect day
Photo © Ross McClymont
And if that was not enough to be excited about, above on a branch were a pair of azure kingfishers displaying their brilliant colour.
Meanwhile, the working bee in Lagoon Creek involving some 37 members, dedicated itself to the removal of Salvinia molesta, a free-floating aquatic fern that can spread quickly across a waterway and impede the activities of platypus.
At the end of the event, the excited surveyors returned to the Lagoon Creek muster point and were able to share the good fortune of their many platypus sightings with the workers. According to Carole Green, it was a perfect morning for PlatypusWatch.
May 2014 - New Partner for PlatypusWatch
Residents and community members of Ipswich will soon join the ranks of those already surveying their local platypus populations as part of Wildlife Queensland’s PlatypusWatch program.
Aware of the program's success in Brisbane and Moreton Bay, Ipswich City Council approached Wildlife Queensland in January this year about running a PlatypusWatch program in their area for the first time.
With historic records of platypus occurring throughout Ipswich City since 2000, Wildlife Queensland is excited by the expansion of the program into the Bremer River and tributaries and looks forward to working with Ipswich City Council to gather information about platypus abundance and distributions in these new areas.
Environment and Conservation Committee Chairperson Councillor Heather Morrow said this was an exciting time to be a platypus in Ipswich.
'The partnership program will provide important data about the status and health of Ipswich's platypus populations and bring opportunities to teach residents about their much misunderstood monotreme mates,' Cr Morrow said.
The program aims to start around July, with surveys beginning in September. Wildlife Queensland will work closely with Ipswich City Council to find appropriate survey locations based on historic sightings and suitable platypus habitat.
'With every new project we start,' said Senior Project Officer for Wildlife Queensland, Holly Bryant, 'we are able to get our message out to more people about the threats to platypus and how to conserve their habitat and our waterways for future generations.'
Friends of Lagoon Creek remove 13 bags of rubbish
Photo © Holly Bryant
April 2014 - More progress for platypus
Wildlife Queensland is excited to continue its PlatypusWatch project in Lagoon Creek, Caboolture. The project began in 2013 with Moreton Bay Regional Council funding two events. In March 2014, Moreton Bay Regional Council confirmed their financial support of the project’s continuation.
The aim of the project is to map the distribution of platypus in Lagoon Creek, and improve habitat quality. The project has expanded in 2014 to include visual platypus surveys as well as initial education workshops and the removal of rubbish from the creek. The first event resulting from the new funding was run on Sunday, 6 April at Lagoon Creek. The event was attended by 20 community members, 10 of which had attended the previous event in January 2014.
Watching for platypus at Lagoon Creek
Photo © Holly Bryant
Friends of Lagoon Creek had previously removed rubbish from the same section of Lagoon Creek as part of Clean-Up Australia Day on Sunday, 3 March. Despite this recent effort, 13 large bags of rubbish were collected at the platypus event and included litter such as industrial Styrofoam, plastic bags, buckets, bottles, cans, glass, plastic rings, fishing line, fishing hooks and clothing.
The next PlatypusWatch event is scheduled for July 2014. If you’d life to be part of this project, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More progress for platypus.