Bringing platypus back to the Torrens

A bold rewilding project to bring platypus back to the River Torrens is being investigated to reintroduce this iconic threatened species to mainland South Australia.

We are leading a rewilding project to reintroduce platypus to the River Torrens/Karrawirra Pari.

This iconic Australian animal is what is known to ecologists as an umbrella species – meaning that conserving them and their habitat will result in many other species also being conserved.

So, if platypuses can be successfully reintroduced to the River Torrens/Karrawirra Pari, this will mean a healthier ecosystem for other native species like long-necked turtles and native water rats (rakali).

(Banner image courtesy of PlatypusSPOT)

Scoping study

We are proud to release the findings of a scoping study, investigating the suitability of the River Torrens/Karrawirra Pari for re-introducing platypus.

The study was initially shared with project stakeholders, bringing together people with incredible knowledge and experience to review the findings.

The scoping study and following stakeholder workshop identified a number of positive signs about the river's suitability for this iconic animal, including:

  • reasonable abundance of food, or macroinvertebrates (e.g. insects and shrimp)
  • low levels of plastic or litter-based pollution
  • improved water quality in several sections
  • suitable submerged habitat in several sections.

Download your copy here.


Platypuses have been considered extinct on mainland South Australia since the mid-1970s. They are now found on Kangaroo Island, with some encouraging sightings in the Riverland during the 1990s, and more recently in 2018.

There are records of platypuses living along the River Torrens in the early 1800s and it is a missing vital part of the River Torrens ecosystem.

Platypuses are listed as a threatened species in Australia, and are a unique creature with a bill like a duck, a tail like a beaver, otter-like fur, webbed feet – and it lays eggs.

Get involved

As the project progresses, we will be encouraging the formation of a Friends of the River Torrens Platypus Community Group and a Platypus Fund.

Businesses, the community, universities and government will be encouraged to donate and further this important work to re-wild the River Torrens.

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