The New South Wales state government believes it will help combat the drought. But in reality, this is another blow to rivers, including the platypus that lives in them. “If there is recognition that it is an endangered species, it will be very difficult to obtain permission to build it.”
The platypus is a beloved Australian symbol around the world and has a special meaning to some of the aborigines of Australia, says policy official James Therese of the Australia Conservation Foundation. For Wadi Wadi, the platypus is one of their totemic animals, a spiritual symbol, but the last time an animal was seen in their area was years ago.
Researchers and conservationists, including photographer Doug Jamesie, have asked the Australian government and several Australian states to grant the animal a “vulnerable” status. The Victoria State Scientific Advisory Committee issued advice last November to approve this request. In the state of South Australia, the species has already been included in the endangered species list.
If the platypus was also recognized nationally as an endangered species, the Australian government would be obligated to undertake more activities to monitor these retracted animals. In addition, the authorities will then be obligated to take into account their interests when evaluating major construction projects, such as building dams.
Additionally, scientists believe that more thought should be given to river management. Less planting space should be provided, which encourages erosion. There should also be a ban on “yabby traps,” which are the traps that are used to catch crustaceans, but often trapped in a platypus.