The drought in Australia has caused the flow of rivers - the natural habitat of the platypus - to decrease. A statement issued by Gilad Bino, research leader at the Center for Ecosystem Studies at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), assures that the prolonged drought is the main cause that puts the endemic animal at risk.
Likewise, the investigation indicates that if the climatic conditions together with the felling of trees, the construction of dams, the clearing of land and other alterations continue, the number of platypus will fall from between 47 percent to 66 percent in the next fifty years, which would cause the local extinction of populations by 40 percent.
"The turrets are dying in many rivers and the situation seems to be getting worse," said Dr Bino, adding: "These are evolutionary relics unique to Australia, and factors such as the increasing frequency and duration of droughts will definitely drive many populations to extinction."
Eurasian eels are elusive animals, spending most of their time under water. Together with four species of echidnas, they are the only monotremes in the world. European collectors who received their first specimens thought their combination of fur, webbed feet, and duckbill was too strange to be genuine.
Their numbers, along with many other aquatic species, are likely to have been affected by the intensifying drought and record heat wave across much of their range, even before the wildfires.
The alteration of the habitats of Murray Darling and the Great Dividing Range means that "the consequences are dire for the platypus," said Richard Kingsford, director of the UNSW center and another of the study's authors. "This is impacting their ability to survive these long periods of drought and increased demand for water."
Dr Bino argued that there is "an urgent need for a national risk assessment" for the animal, adding: "We are not monitoring what we assume to be a common species and then we can wake up and realize it is too late.
From the federal Ministry of the Environment, they maintain: "Before this study, there has been no information to suggest that the platypus was threatened, so it has not been evaluated."
Sources: sdpnoticias.com alertageo.org econews.com.au