Visual monitoring by individuals (Platypus Count)
There is no inherent reason why platypus populations cannot be monitored using visual survey methods: the animals are physically distinctive, occupy a wide range of water bodies that are often easily observed from the adjoining banks, and are diurnal enough in their habits that thousands of platypus sightings are made every year across the species’ range.
Platypus Count provides a new approach to monitoring platypus, based on sightings made by volunteers using a standard visual survey method. It has been designed to be a very flexible program, catering to anyone who routinely walks jogs, rides a bicycle or otherwise spends time along a creek, river or lake where there is a reasonable chance of seeing platypus (or water-rats) on a reasonably frequent basis.
Each volunteer chooses one or a few conveniently located spots to watch for animals and decides when (at what times of day and how many times a week or month) he or she will look for platypus.
Platypus Count data are entered into a secure computer database managed by the Australian Platypus Conservancy, and analysed to determine how many sightings have been made in different areas on a monthly or seasonal basis.
Personal details of volunteers and the specific location(s) of where they watch for animals are kept strictly confidential. However, reports summarising the combined general findings are produced and forwarded to all Platypus Count participants on a regular basis.
Persons who are interested in becoming Platypus Count volunteers are invited to contact the Conservancy for a full information kit.