Platypus mysteries are revealed

THE platypus is one of the most popular of Australia's animal icons but how is it faring in and around Cooma?

A leading expert from the Australian Platypus Conservancy (APC), Geoff Williams, will be in Cooma on August 1 to talk about the platypus and explain its conservation needs and give hints on how to spot these animals in the wild.

Locals will learn how they can help platypus populations in local rivers and creeks.

Mr Williams has been studying platypus since 1994 and before helping to establish the Conservancy, Mr Williams was Director of Healesville Sanctuary and Assistant Director of Taronga Zoo.

The APC is a non-government, not-for-profit organisation which is dedicated to researching platypus and providing advice to the community about platypus conservation.

Mr Williams will also be talking about the Australian water-rat, the native aquatic mammal that shares habitat with the better-known monotreme.

The water-rat, also called rakali, is a fascinating species in its own right, somewhat resembling an otter.

Mr Williams will explain how people can become involved in a program to monitor local populations of platypus and water-rats.

The evening will also include a short presentation by David Paterson about the Cooma-Monaro Shire Council's 'Keep Cooma Creek Clean' project, which aims to reduce litter and pollution in Cooma Creek.

This project aims to reduce stormwater pollution in local creeks and will help to protect platypus from the threat of litter entrapment.

The event is hosted by Upper Murrumbidgee Waterwatch, starting at 7pm at the Cooma TAFE Restaurant and admission is free.

For more information contact Australian Platypus Conservancy on 03 5157 5568 or email at platypus.apc@westnet.com. au, Cooma Waterwatch - 0429778633 or email antia@coomawaterwatch. org.au

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