Until recently, Platypus had never been recorded on Yourka Reserve, Jirrbal and Warrungu Country, far north Queensland.
Bush Heritage ecologist Daniella Teixeira, Reserve Manager Paul Hales and I were at Cameron Creek on Yourka on the 10th of August filming with CNN for an upcoming documentary on bioacoustics.
We fleetingly spotted a Platypus in the creek. It quickly disappeared soon afterwards, before resurfacing for a few moments, allowing us to get a look before it finally disappeared.
None of us got a photo, despite CNN having a film camera rolling at the time! So, Paul returned to stake out the creek at dusk and managed to get some photos.
It’s a great sign that there’s a Platypus hanging around on Yourka. It signals good river health and marks a significant first on the reserve. Hopefully, there are more to come.
Platypuses are remarkable animals. They lay eggs and catch yabbies and other aquatic prey, which they hunt down with their bills by detecting tiny electrical signals given off by the creatures.
Their numbers in healthy waterways are regulated by the amount of prey available. If there is more prey, there are more platypuses.
They're listed as “near threatened” across Australia because they're increasingly at risk from habitat loss and waterway degradation. Cameron Creek on Yourka Reserve is a substantial, perennial watercourse that’s protected in perpetuity by the reserve and adjoining national parks. Areas like this are vital for the future of iconic species such as this.
Scott van Barneveld
Einasleigh Uplands Ecologist