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Platypus habitat has shrunk by 22 per cent in 30 years, study finds
Researchers state that climate change and it's effect on rivers present a serious risk to the future of platypus populaitons.

Researchers call for better protection for Australian waterways

Researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia are urging the Australian government to list the platypus as a threatened species, after research found that the animals habitat has shrunk by 22 per cent since 1990.

The platypus is currently listed as 'near-threatened' on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. However it is not listed as threatened under Australia’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.

A team of researchers from the Centre for Ecosystem Science (CES) at UNSW found that the area of Eastern Australia where platypuses are found has shrunk by up to 22 per cent – about 77,000 sq miles – over the past 30 years.

“We recorded the most severe declines in platypus observations in NSW – particularly in the Murray-Darling Basin, where natural river systems and water flows have been the most heavily modified,” said lead author Dr Tahneal Hawke.

The team cited disruption of habitat, extreme droughts and introduced predators as some of the major threats affecting the species. It added that listing the platypus as 'threatened' would prioritise monitoring and protection of the animal and it's habitat.

The UNSW researchers have submitted their recommendations to the Commonwealth and NSW Government’s scientific committees, in collaboration with the Australian Conservation Foundation, WWF Australia and Humane Society International Australia.

Lead author Professor Richard Kingsford said: “We have a national and international responsibility to look after this unique animal and the signs are not good. Platypus are declining and we need to do something about threats to the species before it is too late.”

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Born Free video highlights how humans are to blame for COVID-19

News Story 1
 Wildlife charity Born Free has released a video emphasising the importance of changing the ways in which humans treat wildlife in order to prevent pandemics from occurring in the future.

The video, narrated by founder patron Joanna Lumley OBE, says: "To deal with the very immediate threat of another global catastrophe, we have to focus on ending the destruction and conversion of natural habitats and the devastating impact of the wildlife trade.

"The vast majority of these viruses originated in wild animals before infecting us. Destroying and exploiting nature puts us in closer contact with wildlife than ever before."

Born Free has compiled an online resource with information on how to take action and improve protections for wildlife here.

To view the video, please click here.

Images (c) Jan Schmidt-Burbach. 

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RVC opens 2021 Summer Schools applications

The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has opened applications for its 2021 Summer Schools, with students in Years 10, 11 and 12 invited to apply.

Taking place between July and August 2021, the event gives budding vets from all backgrounds first-hand insight into what it's like to study at the Campus.

Much of this year's content is likely to be delivered virtually, including online lectures and practical demonstrations, but the RVC hopes to welcome each of the participants to campus for at least one day to gain some hands-on experience.

For more information about the Schools and to apply, visit: rvc.uk.com/SummerSchools Applications close on the 2 March 2021.