Platypus Rescue HQ, Taronga Western Plains Zoo, is the largest purpose-built platypus conservation centre in the world. The centre combines a research centre, rescue and rehabilitation facilities and a pre-release area to prepare recovered platypus into the wild.
Guests will be able to see the iconic Platypus at Dubbo for the very first time.
A purpose-built platypus habitat will allow guests to see Mackenzie, an adult male platypus, and learn about this cryptic and elusive species that call the waterways of the Central West and NSW home.
Mackenzie is a 23 year-old male platypus who lived at Taronga Zoo Sydney for years before making the journey out to Dubbo in January 2024.
With his beaver-like tail, sleek waterproof fur and flat bill and webbed feet like a duck, it is no wonder the British thought the platypus was a trick in 1798!
The Platypus is the animal emblem of Taronga Conservation Society Australia and the state of NSW. It has swum the fresh waters of eastern Australia and Tasmania for thousands of years, but remains a secretive and elusive creature.
The amphibious Platypus is a monotreme and one of the most unusual creatures on Earth. Monotremes are a unique group of mammals that lay soft-shelled eggs. The only other monotremes are the echidnas.
Monotremes are thought to be the most primitive of all mammals. A 122 million-year old fossil from southeastern Australia, shows that in the middle of the dinosaur era, platypuses already existed, and they are specialized mammals, with duckbills and complex adaptations to water life.
See conservation in action
The platypus is one of the world’s last remaining monotremes and like many other Australian wildlife, is susceptible to the impacts of climate change and habitat loss.
Platypus Rescue HQ will not only give guests an intimate experience with this unique species, but also provides a literal window into modern conservation and research, with guests able to look out over the refuge and see conservation in action.
The new centre builds on Taronga’s existing conservation work to support the platypus and will see cutting-edge research delivered in partnership with the University of NSW’s Centre for Ecosystem Science thanks to support from and collaboration with San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance and WIRES.
Researchers and staff will work to refine the conservation strategy for platypus by filling knowledge gaps across the species’ breeding behaviour, biology and genetics, and developing an evidence-based approach to support future emergency rescue interventions.
How you can help
Every piece of plastic ever created still exists, and over 5 trillion pieces of it are floating in our oceans as litter – that doesn’t even include our rivers.
Rivers are the lifeblood of the country, with wildlife like the Platypus relying on a healthy waterway to survive. Sadly our freshwater systems are experiencing a serious threat to their health from pollution from litter. We can all play a part in reducing single use plastics at the source. Find out how - download our free toolkit for your school or business and create a world of change for platypus and our rivers.
Fast facts about Platypus Rescue HQ!
- Platypus Rescue HQ has the capacity to house up to 65 platypus in the refuge facility, in the event of climatic events such as floods, droughts and bushfires, as well as two breeding pairs in the research facility, and one in the public facing habitat.
- The platypus will be housed in 50, 7,000 litre water tanks and 25 dual-chambered earth tubs.
- The facility is 2,800m2 in size – more than two Olympic swimming pools.
- Platypus Rescue HQ utilises just over half a megalitre of water, including 350,000 litres within the refuge, 16,000 litres in the research facility, 8,000 litres in the exhibit and another 112,500 litres in the refuge plantroom pumps.
- 10,405 litres of water moving around the facility a minute – that’s equivalent to 10 tonnes of water every minute
- Over a kilometre of filtration piping
- No water is wasted. The filtration system losing just 3% of its total water volume per week through backwashes and evaporation. This ‘lost’ water is then directed to the zoo’s waterways including the Savannah Lake