After 50 Years, Platypuses Return to Australian Park

May 17, 2023

The platypus is an adorable animal that’s sort of like a mix of a duck, beaver, otter, and scorpion. They are a beloved symbol of Australia’s unique wildlife. Now, because people have worked hard to protect them, you can find them again in Sydney’s Royal National Park. 

Last Friday, four female platypuses were released into the park. They have special tags on their bodies. That’s so researchers can monitor them for the next two years. Representatives from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and other groups worked together to make this happen.   

“(It is) very exciting for us to see platypuses come back into the park,” a researcher at UNSW told Reuters.  

Scientists hope to learn how best to move the mammals. Droughts, fires, habitat destruction, and floods have all threatened them. They used to be found all over. However, their numbers have fallen in the last 100 years. The Royal National Park hasn't had any platypuses in over 50 years. Scientists think there are around 30,000 to 300,000 of them in the wild.   

First, the four females will need to get used to their new home. Then, males will be brought into the same area. Researchers hope that they may breed. Cameron Kerr, the CEO of Taronga Conservation Society Australia, is confident in the conservation efforts. “The platypus is Taronga’s emblem,” he told, “and we are committed to ensuring it not only survives but thrives for years to come.”  

Photo from Unsplash via Klaus.

Reflect: What are some ways, either big or small, that we can help protect endangered species and their habitats?

Which of the following words would NOT be used to replace “beloved” in the opening paragraph of the story? (Common Core RI.5.4; RI.6.4)
a. adored
b. disliked
c. treasured
d. loved
For more formative assessments, visit to start a free trial.

News brought to you by The Juice

Start a free trial today