Are platypuses endangered?


Quick Answer

As of 2014, the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources gives platypuses the classification of least concern, which means they are not endangered. Platypuses have been a protected species in their native country of Australia since 1905, and remain common in eastern Australia. Possible threats include entanglement in fishing equipment and habitat loss due to degradation of river flow.

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Full Answer

Platypuses dwell in lakes, rivers and streams in various terrains in eastern Australia. They skim river and lake bottoms for food, such as worms, shrimp and larvae, and hunt near the surface for fish, frogs and insects. They dig long burrows into riverbanks for shelter. Their aquatic behavior makes them vulnerable to changes in the normal flow of waterways. Drought, human regulation of streams and the siphoning off of water for industrial, agricultural and domestic uses threaten platypuses' habitats. Flooding due to tropical cyclones also puts their aquatic habitats in danger. Additionally, pollution and traps set in waterways to catch crustaceans and fish pose a potential threat to platypus populations.

Apart from its official status as a protected animal in Australia, conservation efforts for platypuses focus on keeping populations at a number of Australian animal sanctuaries. Although attempts have been made to export platypuses to zoos in other parts of the world, they have not survived well outside of Australia.

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