PETA is offering $5,000 as a reward for information leading to the identification and conviction of anyone involved in the drowning death of a platypus with a closed yabby trap.
In the past year, 13 platypuses have been found dead after drowning in illegally set closed yabby traps in Victoria’s public waters. It’s estimated that several hundred more have died and remain unfound because of the “set-and-forget” nature of the traps. In fact, a total of five platypuses drowned in just two traps that had been left in the water, unmonitored by the person responsible.
Enclosed yabby traps attract and ensnare various other wildlife too, including rakali (water rats), freshwater turtles and aquatic birds.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is appealing to Victorians not to use this style of trap. Shamefully, the sale of enclosed yabby traps, including, opera house traps, is not illegal in Australia.
In 2014, the International Union for Conservation of Nature changed the status of the platypus from a “least-concern” to a “near-threatened” species.
Researchers have reported significantly smaller platypus populations, which platypus expert Professor Richard Kingsford warns “have [a] much greater probability of becoming extinct”. Indeed, the effect is exponential. If a drowned platypus is female, trapped while foraging for food to nourish her young, the babies will surely starve.
Anyone with information about is encouraged to call 13FISH (13 3474) to report it to the Victorian Fisheries Authority. To report crimes against wildlife call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 – Reporting is confidential – authorities need only your information to solve crimes, not your name.