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“On the brink of extinction”: The iconic Aussie animal set to vanish within 50 years

“On the brink of extinction”: The iconic Aussie animal set to vanish within 50 years

Australia’s beloved platypus is now feared to be on the “brink of extinction”.

Researchers at the University of New South Wales say the number of platypuses in the wild could drop by 66 per cent by 2070 due to climate change and other environment threats.

According to researchers, increasing temperatures across the country, the intense drought and land clearing are all contributing to the species’ decline.

Director for UNSW’s Centre for Ecosystem Science, Richard Kingsford said the future for the animal was “grim”.

“This is impacting their ability to survive during these extended dry periods and increased demand for water,” Mr Kingsford said in the journal article, Biological Conservation.

“If we lost the platypus from Australian rivers, you would say, ‘What sort of government policies or care allow that to happen?’”

The study’s lead author, Gilad Bino said the growing threat of climate change could hinder the platypus’s ability to repopulate, which in turn would result in “extinction”.

“We are not monitoring what we assume to be a common species. And then we may wake up and realise it’s too late,” said Dr Bino.

The platypus is currently listed as “near-threatened” under the IUCN Red List of threatened species but Dr Bino says the government needs to assess how much the animal is at risk.

The Victorian Environment Department said they were working with the federal government over whether the platypus’ status needed to be changed to “threatened”.