Green Adelaide's bold vision to reintroduce platypus to the River Torrens/Karrawirra Pari is one step closer to becoming a reality, with a peer-reviewed study showing positive signs for this iconic Australian animal.

The scoping study, which was released today, assessed the availability of macroinvertebrates as platypus food, habitat quality and river flow regimes as critical areas to support platypus reintroduction –all of which are favourable, according to expert ecologists, for the successful re-establishment of the species.

Green Adelaide Presiding Member Professor Chris Daniels said that the study's positive findings are an exciting step forward in Green Adelaide's quest to reintroduce platypus into the River Torrens/Karrawirra Pari.

"We are now one step closer to the dream of seeing wild platypus in the Torrens again one day," Professor Daniels said.

"We will continue rehabilitating the River Torrens/Karrawirra Pari for this threatened iconic Australian mammal and excited to one day return this missing vital part of the Torrens ecosystem.”

“While the study shows that there are a number of important actions to prepare our river, it is significant in the guidance it provides for the rewilding of our city.”


Professor Chris Daniels said that platypus haven't been recorded in the river since the 1800s, so it's promising to learn that the health of the Torrens is at a point that platypus could survive – and possibly even thrive – if they are reintroduced.

"While the scoping study is a preliminary investigation, it's encouraging to see that past habitat restoration work along the Torrens now means that many of the potential obstacles raised by experts in the field are now possible to overcome,” Professor Daniels said.

“One of these obstacles was food sources, as platypus eat up to 50% of their body weight in food each day. We now know that the river does have enough macroinvertebrates, such as insects and shrimp, to support a reintroduction.

“This is a significant finding, not only because macroinvertebrates are valuable food for platypus, but because their diversity and abundance in the Torrens is a great indicator of the overall health of the river system.

Professor Daniels said a recent announcement from the Department of Primary Industries and Regions to ban opera house traps South Australia from 1 July is welcome news for the viability of the reintroduction project.

"The study highlighted that removal of these traps is critical for the success of reintroducing platypus to the River Torrens/Karrawirra Pari, so we are delighted that this recent ban announcement supports this iconic rewilding project,” Professor Daniels said.

Work over the next 12 months will focus better understanding how to further enhance habitats to best protect platypus from potential predators like cats and foxes, and the impact of river flow on food resource availability.

Learn more or download a copy of scoping study from our project page.

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