Platypus Exchange Program Enriches Conservation Efforts at Walkabout Creek Discovery Centre

A significant exchange involving one of Australia’s most iconic creatures, the platypus, has taken place between two states, which aims to bolster the platypus population whilst simultaneously advancing public education efforts regarding this unique species.  Amidst this exchange, the Walkabout Creek Discovery Centre in The Gap in Brisbane will also play a pivotal role, as it becomes the new home to two platypuses, further enriching Australia’s conservation efforts.

At the heart of this exchange, orchestrated by the Queensland Department of Environment, Science and Innovation (DESI) and the Victorian Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA,  is a 10-year-old platypus named Wally.

Wally, from the David Fleay Wildlife Park on the Gold Coast,  is now embarking on a journey to the Healesville Sanctuary in Victoria, where he will play a crucial role in the platypus national species conservation program. 

This program marks a remarkable synergy between the two departments, with historical ties to where Dr. David Fleay successfully bred platypus in 1943. 

Wally’s Contribution to Platypus Conservation

Wally’s relocation to Healesville Sanctuary represents a milestone in platypus conservation. As part of this program, he is set to share his genetic heritage to diversify the gene pool, which is essential for maintaining a healthy platypus population. 

The program not only allows Wally to engage in natural mating behaviour but also contributes significantly to ongoing species research, a legacy of the esteemed Dr Fleay.

On the 13th of December 2023, Wally embarked on a journey from the Gold Coast to Victoria, safely enclosed in a purpose-built crate designed to maintain his body temperature below 20 degrees. Having settled into his new habitat, Wally is now introduced to a female platypus, marking a crucial step in the conservation effort.

Expanding Opportunities for Breeding

In this collaborative endeavour of the Platypus Exchange Program, male platypus Tarrabi and female platypus Waddirrang arrived in Queensland on the 16th of December 2023. This exchange not only creates more breeding opportunities but also offers a unique chance to study the behaviours and breeding strategies of multiple individuals. 

With their arrival in Queensland, Waddirrang has found her new home at the David Fleay Wildlife Park on the Gold Coast. Meanwhile, Tarrabi has taken up residence at the Walkabout Creek Discovery Centre at The Gap in Brisbane. 

These locations not only provide excellent living conditions for the platypuses but also serve as inspirational hubs for future generations of wildlife enthusiasts, continuing the legacy of platypus conservation in Australia.

Published 22-Jan-2024