Platypus Conservation Initiative

Part of the Centre for Ecosystem Science, the Platypus Conservation Initiative was established in 2016 for the purpose of reducing the risk of extinction to platypuses through scientific research, improved management, and increased awareness.

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The platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) is an Australian enigma, one of only five extant species of egg-laying mammals and the only species within the monotreme family Ornithorhynchidae. It is a semi-aquatic mammal, endemic to Australia, with both reptilian and mammalian characters: egg laying, fur, lactation, venomous spurs, and has electroreception. The platypus is an evolutionarily distinct mammal, making it of exceptional scientific value and an irreplaceable component of the Australian and global biodiversity.

The platypus is an iconic Australian species that has faced an increasing number and intensity of threats since European colonisation. It is currently listed as ‘Near Threatened’ under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List but not currently listed as threatened under Australia’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999. In South Australia, the platypus is currently listed as Endangered (National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972) and in Victoria recently recommended to be listed as Vulnerable (Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1998).

Honours research offer

Join our research team to investigate reproductive ecology of platypuses.

Report recommends platypus listed as vulnerable

An assessment by scientists at UNSW Sydney recommends the platypus be listed as a threatened species under Australia’s and NSW environmental legislation.

The platypus

The platypus is an Australian enigma. It has exceptional scientific value and as such, should be made an irreplaceable component of national and global biodiversity.

Ecology and evolution

Discover more about the ecology and evolution of platypuses, one of the most ancient lineage mammals living today.

Distribution and abundance

From Cooktown in northern Queensland to Tasmania, the distribution of platypuses has been collated to give insights into changes in distribution over time.

Threats and conservation

There are numerous threats to platypuses through increased agriculture and urbanisation. Read our latest research and findings.


View our list of platypus research papers including the distribution and number of studies.

About us

The Platypus Conservation Initiative partners with local, state and federal agencies to develop national conservation strategies to protect the platypus. Find out more.

Centre for Ecosytem Science

We focus on the key uncertainties, risks and threats that face biodiversity in rivers and wetlands. We provide rigorous advice to government and communicate our research broadly in the community.
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