Wollongbar teenagers save Aussie icon

Even local wildlife rescuers rarely see a platypus. This young female has been released back into the wild after being rescued by two young boys in Wollongbar and nursed back to health by WIRES Northern Rivers.

When cousins Nathan Jarrett and Jonathan Bennett decided to go for a canoe down Wollongbars Marom Creek after last months floods, the boys never imagined they would end up saving a rarely seen and cherished Australian icon.

The two teenagers spotted a platypus washed up on the bank and promptly set about rescuing the four-month-old animal before contacting wildlife carers WIRES Northern Rivers so she could receive specialised care.

The platypus had no injuries, but had an overload of ticks and was having trouble breathing. She was rushed to a wildlife hospital in southern Queensland, and after four days of rest and and plenty of TLC, she was brought home and released back into the wild.

Recent floods would have disrupted existing burrows, so an artificial one had to be supplied, said wildlife carer Sue Ulyatt, who hasnt seen a platypus in care since 2002. We set up an artificial burrow without delay, and our little orphan was released that same evening at dusk. She slid quietly out and made her way into the water. What a thrill to watch her swim close to the bank exploring, once again wild and free.

Ms Ulyatt said the young platypus will be closely monitored over the next month, and she encouraged locals to always keep an eye out after floods for any platypus that might be in trouble.

WIRES Northern Rivers is always looking for new carers, with training available in April and September. For more information phone the WIRES rescue hotline on 6628 1898 or visit www.wiresnr.org.


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