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The Platypus Faces Extinction As Australia Heats Up

The Platypus Faces Extinction As Australia Heats Up


Written by Alex Davies, a Treehugger blogger

As a mammal that lays eggs, has a duck’s bill, a beaver’s tail, an otter’s feet and a venomous spur on its foot (males only), the platypus is a one of a kind animal. I mean that literally: it is the only non-extinct species in its genealogical family and genus. But things aren’t looking good for the perplexing animal: as temperatures on its native Australia heat up, the platypus is finding it harder and harder to survive. A new study predicts that 30% of the species will perish by 2070.

Platypus have remarkably warm and waterproof fur, evolved to help them survive life in the icy waters where they spend much of their lives. But that fur also prevents heat loss- a major liability, as the platypus habitat in eastern Australia is predicted to heat up by 5 Celsius (9 F).

The platypus is protected under Australian law, but climate change is harder to combat when fighting for platypus than the hunters that once made the remarkable animals’ existence precarious. But the silver lining is that the protection of endangered species is a possible route to enacting climate change legislation (at least in the United States).

This post was originally published on Treehugger.

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Photo from Melbourne Water via flickr

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12:54AM PST on Nov 30, 2011

I hope that the platypus can be saved as I think they are really special animals.

1:22PM PDT on Oct 1, 2011

This is just one of many sad situations facing our planet's animals.

1:06PM PDT on Aug 28, 2011

Cute animal and sad story!

8:17AM PDT on Aug 28, 2011

So sad.

7:32AM PDT on Aug 28, 2011

Hope and pray they stay back. Don't want to loose any of them......animals.The world needs each one of them.

4:38AM PDT on Aug 23, 2011

God knows...

1:04AM PDT on Aug 17, 2011

This is horrible, something must be done.

10:18AM PDT on Aug 14, 2011

Isn't it strange that the species with the highest developed and most versatile brain couldn't suss these things BEFORE things reach the danger point? We seem to be ONLY NOW, realizing that things actually have LIMITS. I wonder if it has something to do with the STUPIDITY of not wanting to believe someone else "could" be right?

8:12PM PDT on Aug 13, 2011

let's DO everything possible to save this beautiful animal

4:47PM PDT on Aug 12, 2011

I hope they save the platypus,this is a unique and wonderful animal.

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