A BABY platypus is set to make a splash with tourists on the Gold Coast, after being unveiled for the first time at David Fleay Wildlife Park today.
The juvenile male platypus has been named “Wally”, and will soon join female platypus ‘Pebbles’ in the nocturnal house’s special platypus tank.
National Parks Minister Steve Dickson said he hoped the platypus would become the star attraction at the wildlife centre, and help deliver the Newman Government’s election promise to grow tourism as one of the four pillars of the economy.
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“Seeing a platypus in the wild is a thrill that few experience, so this gives visitors the opportunity to see one of our most iconic animals up close, in a facility that encourages community awareness, and appreciation of our native wildlife,” Mr Dickson said.
“This little guy was found injured and underweight near Mt Warning in northern New South Wales, but thankfully with some intensive care, our Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers have nursed him back to health.
“Now seven months old, his back injury has healed and he has gone from less than 200 grams to 550 grams, thanks to a daily diet of worms and crayfish.
“Veterinary advice is that he be kept in captivity, as he is still undersized and would not survive in the wild.”
Australian conservationist Dr David Fleay was the first to breed platypus in captivity, and much that he discovered about keeping platypus healthy in captivity is used today at DFWP and other wildlife parks around Australia.
One of the rangers involved in Wally’s recovery, Ranger-in-Charge Jacqui Seal, said that Wally and Pebbles would help the wildlife park carry on the legacy of Dr Fleay.
“These iconic animals will be important in educating kids about native wildlife,” Miss Seal said.