Platypus in Cattai

CHEN is working with Western Sydney University researchers and students on a new project to establish the occurrence of platypus living in the extended Cattai Creek Catchment.

The platypus is on the path to extinction and it is critical that national conservation measures are implemented. Some of the threats to platypus are land clearing, living in areas undergoing extensive human development, drought (waterways drying up and platypus becoming stranded), litter entanglement, as well as predation by foxes and dogs.

There have been no previous studies of platypus populations in the extended Cattai Creek catchment. This project hopes to confirm their presence and then we can build community knowledge, increase environmental awareness and take steps to help protect their habitat in the catchment.

Platypuses are very difficult to study in the wild, due to their elusive behaviour. We will monitor platypus using environmental DNA (eDNA) – an innovative, non-invasive sampling technique that analyses a small water sample for traces of platypus DNA. We put a call out to local residents to let us know of any platypus sightings and we had some promising sightings reported. We have chosen a number of sampling sites in the catchment on the following creeks: Cattai Creek, Blue Gum Creek, Scaly Bark Creek, O’Haras Creek, Second Ponds Creek, Little Cattai Creek and Dooral Dooral Creek. Sampling is due to take place in the next few months.  

Please report any platypus sightings in the Cattai Creek catchment area to Dr Michelle Ryan at Western Sydney University (m.ryan@westernsydney.edu.au).

O’Haras Creek at Kenthurst – one of the sites that will be sampled for platypus eDNA.