Platypus Survey

Each year in September, a group of volunteer ‘platy-watchers’ gathers before sunrise at the Brookfield Showgrounds prior to heading off to observation posts on Moggill and Gold Creeks.  They spend an hour or so at their appointed site then return to the Showgrounds to deliver their results and share a BBQ breakfast provided by MCCG.

The Annual Platypus Survey began in 2005 and is entirely volunteer-driven. Since the survey began, sightings have fluctuated but happily this unique species is still living in Brisbane's back yard.

Snapshot over the years:

    2016 11 platypus in total; some in new spots from previous years 
    2015 11 platypus, most on lower reaches of Moggill Creek and mid-Gold Creek
    2014 9 platypus, similar to 2013. Platypus reported in less disturbed areas of the creeks
    2013 (another wet summer, but dry late winter): 7 individual platypus seen
    2012 (wet summer, but 7 weeks without rain prior to survey): 17 individual platypus seen
    2011 (severe flooding of creeks early in year): 13 individual platypus seen
    2010 (continuing good rains): 20 individual platypus seen
    2009 (severe flooding of creeks early in year): 7 individual platypus seen
    2008 (10-year drought broken, good rain, water in the creeks) 15 individual platypus seen
    2005-2007 (extreme drought years): maximum of 6 individual platypus seen.

The following graph shows how sightings have fluctuated over the years we have been doing the snapshot surveys:

2016 Survey Report - Sunday 11 September:

  • We had an amazing number of 71 volunteers dispersed along Gold and Moggill Creeks. 
  • Our survey results yielded 11 platypus sightings in total, with platypus seen across a broad spatial scale:
    • Two recorded at one site at Branton Street, Kenmore and a total of three animals seen in this section (exciting ! We haven’t seen this many platypuses for a few years.)
    • Sightings in Moggill Creek and Gold Creek in Upper Brookfield, near Brookfield Produce, in the Huntington Estate, near Kenmore High School and in lower Moggill Creek in the Kilkivan/Manyung streets area.
    • A platypus seen close to the Gold Creek dam on Gold Creek. (They haven’t been seen that far up the creek since the refurbishment of the wall back in 2005).
    • The creek habitat assessments were similar throughout the catchment’s survey sites. Most were fair to good, with only two records of very poor quality habitat.
    • Click here to read a full report authored by Tamielle Brunt: 

      Platypus Survey 2016 Report Platypus Survey 2016 Report (556 KB)

    2015 Survey - key points:

    • Platypus are persisting in lower Moggill Creek, despite its urban environment
    • Number of platypus sightings was low in upper Moggill Creek
    • Platypus have returned to two sites in upper Gold Creek where they haven’t been observed for several years
    • This is a snapshot survey on one morning. We know there are platypus in some sites where they weren’t observed this time
    • We don’t know if a couple of sightings in close proximity were the same animal or two individuals. We also don’t know if there are any breeding pairs

    You can see a video of a platypus sighting here (thanks to Tim Vanlint and Debbie Miller).

    2013 Survey Report:

    In 2013 the sightings (with one exception in Upper Brookfield) were all in lower Moggill Creek. This is a higher density urban area of the catchment that has been the focus of tireless community riparian restoration efforts led by MCCG volunteers such as Malcolm Frost, Bryan Hacker and Damien Egan over many years. Perhaps the continual presence of platypus in these areas is in no small part due to their dedication to conserving the area's biodiversity.

    Why was the number of platypus observed lower in 2013 and why were none seen in Gold Creek, a former platypus stronghold? There is no simple answer, but factors may include:

    • Little recent rainfall and therefore generally less water and flow in the creeks, meaning that platypus are currently concentrated in restricted 'stronghold' areas.
    • Since the surveys began, Gold Creek has been subjected to controlled water releases from the Gold Creek Dam (including flooding and complete cessation of flow) and major disturbance during dam wall reconstruction. Perhaps platypus numbers in this creek have been declining as a result.
    • Platypus were there but simply were not seen at the time of the survey. We know from reported sightings from local residents that they are being regularly observed at some of the stronghold sites where they weren't seen on the survey morning.
    • You can click here for a Google Map of the platypus sightings for 2013 and here for the 2015 map showing all survey points and those at which platypus were sighted.
    • 2011 Survey Report:

    Link to Noam’s video of a platypus in Moggill Ck near the Brookfield Showgrounds taken during the 2011 survey.

    For information contact Chris Hosking:  c.hosking@uq.edu.au 

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