After hearing from PETA and the Victorian Alliance for Platypus-Safe Yabby Traps, retail chain BCF has pulled cruel “opera house” traps from its online store.
In the past year, 14 platypuses have been found dead after having drowned in such 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. Five platypuses drowned in just two traps that had been left in the water.
Many of these traps are used during the summer months, when female platypuses are foraging for food for their babies. If a mother is caught in a trap, her young will starve to death.
In 2014, the International Union for Conservation of Nature changed the status of the platypus from a “least concern” to a “near threatened” species.
Leaving this type of trap in public waters is illegal in Victoria, and last December, PETA offered a reward of $5,000 for information leading to the identification and conviction of those responsible for leaving these death traps unmonitored.
All fishing nets are indiscriminate killers. Enclosed yabby traps are known to attract and ensnare other wildlife, too, including rakali (water rats), freshwater turtles, and aquatic birds.
Unfortunately, these opera house nets are still being sold by Fishing Wholesalers. Please join us in asking them to take these cruel traps off their shelves.
Anyone with information about unmonitored traps in Victorian waterways is encouraged to call the Victorian Fisheries Authority on 13FISH (13 3474). To report crimes against wildlife, call Crime Stoppers on 1 800 333 000. Reporting is confidential – authorities need only your information to solve crimes, not your name.