Conservation

Conservation status

Ornithorhynchus anatinus is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because:

  • it has a wide distribution
  • it has a presumed large population
  • it is unlikely to be declining at a rate that justifies listing it in a threatened category

However, long term population trends cannot be predicted reliably from the catchment and local level data currently available.

Legislation

The platypus is protected by legislation in the Australian Capital Territory and in every state in which it occurs. 

This means that platypuses:

  • cannot be captured or killed, except for scientific research (and special permits and ethics approval are needed first)
  • can be kept only in licensed zoos or sanctuaries

Threats

  • Habitat disruption caused by dams, irrigation projects and pollution.
  • Predation by foxes and occasionally birds of prey, crocodiles and large fresh water fish species.
  • Starvation and/or heat stress in dispersing juveniles and/or adults during droughts.
  • Human activities, especially drowning in illegal nets and traps and becoming entangled in discarded fishing line, plastic and other rubbish.
  • Mucor fungal disease in Tasmania