Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s Project Platypus continues to gain momentum with the second round proving popular with eight more schools and almost 200 students joining program.
“Project Platypus has just gone from strength to strength with an overwhelming response from schools to be involved in the project following the pilot program earlier this year,” said the Zoo’s Senior Education Officer, Kristy Robberts.
“We have another eight schools participating in the second round of the project in Dubbo and have had schools from Parkes, Forbes and Orange also becoming involved in the program, which is great to see.”
“Today, the students are on a field day at the Macquarie River to gain a greater understanding about the habitat requirements for the species, threats to the Platypus and river health issues.”
“Students do habitat surveys, water quality testing, fisheries information sessions and tree planting, learning more about the Platypus and the importance of conserving this incredible Australian animal,” said Kristy.
In the future, the students will continue to participate in the project during school hours through curriculum-based subjects and working on small group project before coming together for the Expo Day in the free access area at the Zoo on Friday 21 October 2011.
“The Expo Day will provide students with the opportunity to share their knowledge with the community,” said Kristy.
The Platypus is considered common, however it faces many threats to long-term survival including degradation of rivers and streams and banks suitable for burrows, irresponsible land use practices, illegal netting and trapping of fish and crustaceans such as yabbies as well as pollutants and dog attacks.
Project Platypus is a community conservation education project that aims to support Platypus populations that live in the NSW’s Western region. The project helps to raise awareness in the community and empowers students to become advocates for a local species by allowing them to become custodians of change in attitudes and behaviours of family and friends towards the local environment. This not only helps the Platypus, but promotes the protection of the entire Macquarie River system.
Project Platypus is a Taronga Western Plains Zoo initiative in partnership with Central West Catchment Authority, River Smart, Department of Primary Industries, Dubbo City Council and Dubbo Bushcare Group. For more information about Project Platypus visit www.taronga.org.au.