Researchers at the University of New South Wales have reportedly declared the duck-billed platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) of Australia are on the brink of extinction. Their findings explain the count of Australian platypus will dip by an alarming 66% by 2070 due to climate change.
In their reports, researchers cited soaring temperature, drought and scarcity of food resources as primary reasons for decline of the Platypus population. Richard Kingsford, director for UNSW's Centre for Ecosystem Science, reported in a journal article, on biological conservation The Age, that the future of the mammal was “grim”.
Kingsford further stated that due to extended dry periods and lack of availability of water owing to drought-like conditions and hot temperature, the survival instinct of Platypus were affected.
He opined, 'if we were responsible for the extinction of an animal from the surface of the earth, we have to ask ourselves, what government policies allowed this to happen?'.
The platypus is listed as 'near-threatened' on the IUCN Red List of threatened species amongst other 15 species, including Australia’s humble rodent Bramble Cay melomys, that was officially declared extinct June 2016. Dr Gilad Bino, study's lead author reported to the media sources that platypus’ inability to repopulate and the lack of habitat management by the federal government fails to assess the population at risk. This has driven the species to extinction.
Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction (2015) in the journals published estimated that one-third of corals, freshwater molluscs, sharks, and rays, one-fourth of all mammals, one-fifth of all reptiles, and one-sixth of all birds are heading towards extinction.
The scientist community, as per reports, have declared the last five extinctions over a span of 450 million years occurred due to meteorites and volcanic eruptions. A study by the University of Connecticut, published in the Science journal predicted climate change to cause the sixth extinction of species.