Tweed residents are being called on to help identify platypus habitats around the shire so they can be protected.
The Platypus Project will be launched tomorrow, Friday, at 10am at Uki, by Cr Gary Bagnall as part of this week’s Tweed River Festival.
As part of weaving the project into the festival, a three-metre-long platypus sculpture will lead the festival’s big attraction, the lantern parade, as dusk falls at Murwillumbah’s Budd Park on Saturday 9 November.
Tweed Shire Council says the help to explore the little-known world of the platypus in the Tweed is also aimed at reducing threats to Tweed platypus populations.
Waterways project officer Matthew Bloor said, ‘the presence of this amazing and ancient creature in our waterways can be a good indicator of the health of our environment’.
‘We know the platypus is widespread in the Tweed; however, we still know very little of this iconic animal’s lifestyle in our shire.
‘Council’s Platypus Project is collecting platypus sightings to better understand where it lives and whether populations are increasing or decreasing.
‘This information will help us work with the Tweed community to protect and repair our water catchments and special habitats.
‘Healthy creeks are important for platypus and also provide us with our drinking-water supply,’ Mr Bloor said.
The platypus, alongside many other native species, is vulnerable to many threats and pressures including poor water quality, bank degradation, illegal fishing, pollution, land clearing, stock watering on banks, and longer-term patterns of climate change.
Mr Bloor said the project aimed to harness community support and involvement in protecting the iconic platypus and its habitat.
The weaving of the platypus sculpture will begin tomorrow (Friday) morning at the Uki Markets at the Uki Hall park, when Sunshine Coast-based artist Kris Martin and three other artists demonstrate how they weave their magic using the invasive weed, cat’s claw creeper.
Today (Wednesday) Kris will hold an open workshop on creating the sculpture with the community in Uki from 10am to 4pm.
For more information about the Tweed River Festival visit www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/riverfestival.
For more on the Platypus Project, go to www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/platypus.