Australia’s endemic platypus was reintroduced Friday into the country’s oldest national park south of Sydney as part of a landmark conservation project after disappearing from the region more than half a century ago. The platypus is known for its beak, webbed feet, and poisonous spores. It is one of only two egg-laying mammals in the world and spends most of its time in the water at night. Due to its reclusive nature and very specific habitat needs, most Australians have never seen it in the wild. This resettlement is a joint initiative of the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Taronga Conservation Australia, WWF Australia, and the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service. Four females were released Friday in the Royal National Park, the world’s second-oldest national park, established in 1879. The park, about 35 kilometers south of Sydney, has not seen a platypus since the 1970s. This translocation occurs at a time when the platypus is increasingly threatened by habitat destruction, river degradation, wild predators, and extreme weather events such as drought and wildfires. Current population estimates vary widely, ranging from 30,000 to about 300,000. Gilad Bino, a researcher at the Center for Ecosystem Sciences in New South Wales, said: “It’s great to see the platypus back in the park, a thriving population established, and Sydney residents visiting and enjoying this amazing animal. , which is very exciting for us.” Platypuses from the east coast of Australia and Tasmania were collected from various locations in southeastern New South Wales and subjected to various tests before being transported. The researchers say each platypus will be tracked over the next two years to better understand how to intervene and move the platypus in the event of droughts, wildfires, and floods. 

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