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Friday, May 14, 2021
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Homecoming: platypus return to Tidbinbilla

In some good news, three platypus have been brought home to the ACT’s Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve after being moved to Taronga Zoo in Sydney for the bushfire season.

ACT Environment Minister Mick Gentleman said recent weather has allowed the platypus to return home.

“Recent rainfall has since filled the waterways and ponds at the Reserve and the platypus can now return to thrive in their natural environment,” he said.

“The platypus released yesterday were tagged with tracking devices during their stay at Taronga, with three more tagged platypus to be released in the weeks to come.

“I thank our partners for working with Tidbinbilla’s wildlife officers and caring for these iconic Australian animals over summer while the nature reserve experienced extended dry conditions and threat from fire.”

Taronga Zoo said they are “thrilled” to have been able to send the platypus home, and the zoo’s wildlife conservation officer Phoebe Meagher said the animals were well taken care off during their visit.  

“During their stay at Taronga our platypus keepers went above and beyond to keep these animals healthy and to ensure they kept their natural behaviours,” Dr Meagher said.

“They achieved this by limiting their contact with the Tidbinbilla platypus, supplying live food for active foraging and keeping them separate from Taronga’s own animals.”

The tagged platypus will be studied as part of research project between Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, Taronga Zoo and the University of New South Wales.

The research project will focus on the animals’ habitat use, behaviour and interactions over a period of 1.5 years, with findings to be used to improve habitat requirements for Tidbinbilla and the management of wild populations.

Unfortunately, we will have to wait a little bit longer to see our furry friends back in their homes. Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve remains closed due to COVID-19, with work also underway to repair damage from bushfire and floods.

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