Watergum’s PlatypusWatch monitors 4 Gold Coast waterways and the Albert River in Logan.
All sightings are recorded visually in google maps. Check out our past years here.
This allows us to evaluate how platypus populations change and identify and monitor patterns.
Previously we also monitored Tallebudgera Creek. We have many reports of platypus being there 20 – 30 years ago however, in 10+ years of surveying we have only ever seen one platypus. This one sighting did give us hope to keep surveying but we never got lucky again. We were still reluctant to give up our search and so we began eDNA (Environmental DNA) testing.
Any creature that populates the water leaves behind traces of DNA in skin cells, fur and body secretions. By taking samples of the water and testing it for platypus DNA we can confirm not only whether or not platypus are present, but how close to their activities our testing sites are. If we receive a weak result we can take our next round of samples a bit further up or down-stream and as we see the sample get stronger, we know we are nearing their burrow and their main area of activity.
After consistently negative results we were forced to accept that platypus were indeed extinct in the Tallebudgera creek system. Tallebudgera creek is a small, disconnected system meaning that once the original platypus population that died off, it is not a likely spot for a new population to become established as it is difficult and dangerous for platypus to travel far across land to reach it. The lone platypus we once saw there was likely a young male on the search for new territory. He would have quickly realised that there were no other platypus living in this creek system and therefore there was no hope of breeding and passing on his genes. It is likely that he soon left to find somewhere where other platypus were already present.
Our eDNA testing in the Albert river however, was successful! As a result of those positive results we expanded PlatypusWatch into the Logan Council Area.