The iconic platypus is to be given much-needed help thanks to plans by theTaronga Conservation Society Australia and RSPCA NSW to build a new PlatypusRescue and Rehabilitation Facility.

The new purpose-built facility at Taronga Zoo Sydney is on the way, thanks toa $600,000 donation from RSPCA NSW and will serve as a refuge for platypusrequiring urgent care and respite. The RSPCA NSW’s donation was made possibleby the outpouring of public support during the Black Summer bushfires throughRSPCA NSW’s emergency appeal.

The state-of-the-art facility will significantly increase Taronga’s capacityto undertake emergency translocations in response to drought, fire or otherthreatening processes and provide species specific rehabilitation facilitiesfor animals treated through Taronga’s wildlife hospital. Once complete, thefacility will be able to provide refuge and rehabilitation for 9 – 12 platypusat any one time, dependent on sex ratio.

Taronga Conservation Society Australia Chief Executive Officer Cameron Kerrsaid: “Platypus are silent victims of climate change. Shy and enigmatic,platypus are rarely seen which means their decline has been hidden from publicview.

“Sadly, pressures on their environment mean that more and more of theseanimals are being brought to us for help.

“At Taronga, we refuse to watch as our icons vanish, and we must do all we canto protect the platypus. That’s why this new Platypus Rescue andRehabilitation Facility is so important in our fight to protect our nativewildlife.”

RSPCA NSW Chief Executive Officer Steve Coleman said: “We are pleased to bepartnering with Taronga to ensure this unique mammal is kept from the brink ofextinction.

“We are seeing more threats to our incredible, vibrant wildlife species, whichmeans their wellbeing has never been more of a priority to us.

“All creatures great and small is the foundation upon which RSPCA NSW has beenbuilt. Their future is our future, which is why we must focus our rescue andconservation efforts now.”

Taronga is well-known as a leader in the care of platypus and during the BlackSummer bushfires was called on to provide care and refuge for platypus fromrescued drying waterways in Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve in the ACT. ThePlatypus were later released back into their habitat.

In March 2021, Taronga pledged to use its skills and expertise to save thePlatypus and has previously committed to building a world-class refugefacility at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, with funding from the NSW Government.

Taronga’s Senior Vet, Larry Vogelnest, said: “I am proud to have RSPCA NSW’ssupport to protect these incredible animals. Taronga Zoo has a long history ofproviding expert care for these notoriously complex animals. We are one ofonly two institutions which has successfully bred platypus in recent decades.

“This specialist facility will give us the right tools and environment so thatwe can use our knowledge to provide treatment and rehabilitation forplatypus,” said Vogelnest.

Construction of the new facility will commence later this year and is expectedto be completed in 2022.

Taronga is a not-for-profit organisation with an absolute commitment toconservation and securing a shared future for wildlife and people. Thoselooking to support Taronga’s ongoing work to help save the platypus can nowadopt a platypus.

RSPCA NSW is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to preventing cruelty toanimals and promoting animal welfare. The organisation is establishing awildlife rehabilitation facility located in the Blue Mountains in order tosupport native wildlife in urgent need.

Credit Image-Rick-Stevens

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