WIRES volunteers are trying to rescue a platypus that has a plastic band around its neck.
WIRES volunteers are trying to rescue a platypus that has a plastic band around its neck. Wal Bailey

Plastic band could kill beloved platypus

WILDLIFE volunteers are becoming increasingly concerned for the welfare of a platypus which has an orange a plastic band stuck around its neck.

Local wildlife enthusiast and avid photographer, Wal Bailey, was able to snap a photo of the stricken creature.

It wasn't the only sighting at this creek, and numerous concerned locals and WIRES members have since reported seeing the creature.

A spokeswoman from WIRES Northern Rivers said they were concerned the band could tighten as the platypus grows.

"However the more immediate concern is that the band becomes caught on a snare in the creek as the platypus forages and that it may drown if not able to surface for air," she said.

"Platypus are very secretive creatures, mainly nocturnal, but sometimes able to be seen at dusk and dawn.

"Sighting this individual would be one thing - freeing it from the plastic ring would be a completely different issue."

WIRES Northern Rivers reached out to National Parks and Wildlife, Department of Primary Industries, Southern Cross University, Lismore City Council, the Australian Platypus Conservancy and local Landcare groups for advice and support.

An initial trapping effort was organised, with WIRES volunteers assisting to lay nets and monitor them throughout the night.

Unfortunately, the initial attempt didn't manage to catch any platypus.

By now news of this little creature's plight had spread and an experienced platypus rescuer from University of NSW, Gilad Bino, responded.

"As a former WIRES member himself, he was keen to come to the assistance of a distressed animal," the WIRES Northern Rivers spokeswoman said.

"A second trapping night was organised with Gilad leading the team of WIRES volunteers.

"Another all-nighter was organised, with three platypus venturing into the traps. Unfortunately, none were the banded individual, so they were simply released.

"WIRES hasn't given up hope of helping the platypus.

"The location of the platypus cannot be made public as we do not want to disturb it further."

However anyone who happens to spot the platypus should call 6628 1898.

 

  • WIRES relies heavily on the generosity of caring people for support. All donations $2 and over are tax deductible. The 24-hour hotline is for all rescue, advice or membership calls on the Northern Rivers - call 6628 1898 or go to http://wiresnr.org/Helping.html to find out how you can help.