This HEWI event should have been called Platypus Detection!
In drenching rain, a hardy group ventured out to the Watts River – and were rewarded with their first Platypus sighting! Another HEWI member was stationed downstream and he also had good vision of an adult Platypus.
The soaking coats and jackets soon dried in the Senior Citizen’s Hall, where we enjoyed a pleasant dinner prepared by the Country Women’s Association.
Our first speaker, Tiana Preston, Waterwatch coordinator for Melbourne Water, shared a video of their Platypus surveys, with some of the hazards they face, especially nets in which they become trapped and drown. This is of high concern on private dams, which Melbourne Water cannot monitor.
However, Jess from Healesville Sanctuary, surprised us all with her amazing research findings along Badger Creek where there are many burrows and several breeding Platypus.
Our revegetation partners, Healesville Primary School students, had produced their own video to highlight all the everyday litter that enters our waterways through careless disposal – a cautionary tale for us all. Plastic Bag Free Healesville displayed their Boomerang and Platypus calico bags, offering a free sample for each one of us to celebrate the successful survey.
Star of the evening was Billie, way out of her depth, who unselfishly posed for selfies in a very warm environment. In her Council role, Julie facilitates “Communities for Platypus”, which provided welcome support funding for this activity as had Tiana from her Waterwatch funds. Congratulations to our Facilitator Karen Garth, for her organisation of this successful community event.
Note: Karen has also received thanks from residents within our Grace Burn Project, from HPS teacher Rosie House and the YRC convenor of Communities for Platypus. Karen then received a report, from an ex-zoo keeper, of a juvenile Platypus crossing under Maroondah Highway, (last February) right in the heart of our township!!
So Platypus are alive and well, breeding in our Healesville Township waterways. HEWI believes that our Grace Burn project and our annual revegetation of the three waterways is making a substantial contribution to their healthy habitat.