Platypus breeding aided by river flows

The increase in river flow is intended to help platypus reproduce. Photo: Healesville Sanctuary.

The flows of the Campaspe River are increased to favor the breeding of platypus and rikali (water rats).

From mid-June, Campaspe’s current winter flow will increase from 50 Ml per day to 100 Ml, to help platypus, fish and rakali start their important pre-spring activities.

“This feed will start the process of providing foraging opportunities for female platypus,” said Darren White, environmental project manager for the North Central Catchment Management Authority.

“They need to start building fat reserves now for the breeding season. Nursing can take a lot of energy from platypus, and they will start preparing for it now.

“We need to make sure the conditions are right to support the breeding platypus. This is especially important for platypuses because they don’t breed every year, but are more likely to do so in wetter conditions.

“We make the most of the water available to the environment to increase their chances of increasing their numbers.

“That means making sure the feeds support the growth of key plants, plants that will attract water bugs, which are the base of their food chain.

“If conditions throughout the season look good for breeding, we will increase flows up to 200ml/day in the spring to give them a good chance of a successful breeding season.”

Mr White said the feeds would also help male platypus.

“From now and over the next few months, male platypus will start moving upriver and downriver, looking for new mates,” he said.

“A flowing river with connected pools helps them do this and provides protection and cover from predators.

“And those flows are also important for our native fish. Like platypus and water rats, they need to move around and discover productive feeding areas.

“These flows will provide the right conditions and habitat for what we anticipate will be an exceptional spring.”

North Central CMA manages environmental flows on behalf of the Victorian Environmental Water Holder.

The Australian Platypus Conservancy has stated that the onset of minor to moderate chills should contribute to the feeding success of platypus by filling in marginal aquatic habitats, flushing channel sediment, maintaining productive biofilms and otherwise renewing habitats. macroinvertebrate food resources.

Conservation biologist Geoff Williams said they were classified as a vulnerable species in Victoria and for the upper Campaspe River catchment that classification was appropriate.

He considered that the populations in the lower watershed were in a slightly better position and that the populations had improved since the millennial drought.

“The flows at this time are important in helping the female platypus gain physical condition in preparation for mating.”

Anyone who sees a platypus in a river can report it via the Australian Platypus Conservancy website: https://platypus.asn.au/