Australia's unique platypus is slowly being pushed towards extinction due to prolonged drought and other effects of climate change as claimed by a recent report. The study shows that the rived dwelling animals have already disappeared from 40 per cent of its original habitat due to drought, land clearing, pollution and building of dams.
According to researchers, these type of activities fragments their habitat. Scientists predict that if the environmental degradation of their habitat continues then the platypus numbers are predicted to fall 47-66 per cent over the next 50 years. The duck-billed, egg-laying mammal is already classified as 'near threatened' by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
According to scientists from the University of New South Wales' Centre for Ecosystem Science, the damage done to the animal's habitat and river systems has worsened the chances of the animal. Gilad Bino, lead author of the study has said that the environmental degradation on the platypus's natural habitat means that there are no chances of repopulating an area once platypus goes extinct from that area.
The study suggested that there is a real need for a risk assessment program at a national scale in order to determine if the platypus should be classified as 'vulnerable' status. If that is the case then there needs to be a set plan regarding conservation steps to be taken to ensure there is minimum risk of extinction to the animal.
The platypus is sometimes referred to as the duck-billed platypus, it is a semiaquatic egg-laying mammal which is unique to eastern Australia. The unusual appearance of this animal has long baffled European naturalists when it was first encountered. The first scientist that examined the platypus in 1799 thought that the preserved body was a fake, made of several bodies sewn together.
Until the early 20th century the Platypus was hunted for its fun but now is a protected animal. Captive breeding programs have had only limited success in the past.