Dangers to native wildlife from homemade traps

Melbourne Water is reminding the community of the dangers of using home made enclosed yabby traps in waterways following a spate of tragic platypus deaths.

The warning comes amid the shocking discovery of seven dead platypus in a net at Werribee River, a platypus and Rakali (water rat) found in a trap at Millgrove along the Yarra and an empty trap found at Big Pats Creek in Warburton.

Melbourne Water General Manager of Waterways and Land, Tim Wood, said the nets could trap a number of air breathing animals.

“We’re absolutely devastated to see that one of our most iconic animals continues to perish in these home-made nets,” he said. “While we know yabby fishing is a popular activity and these incidents are accidental, its important that recreational fishers abide by the rules of using these waterways.”

Mr Wood said the home-made traps were especially dangerous to wildlife such as platypus, rakali and turtles which couldn’t escape and drown once they enter the device.

“It’s extremely disappointing to find these kind of traps in local waterways where we know native wildlife is flourishing,” he said.

Platypus can be found in rivers and creeks throughout Melbourne but being very shy creatures, it's difficult to know how many live in a specific waterway. Members of the community are encouraged to contribute to the effective management and conservation of platypus through the platypusSPOT app.

Mr Wood said understanding the rate and distribution of a species was essential for effective management and conservation.

“Local knowledge is an invaluable source of information and we encourage the community to contribute their own data of platypus sightings in their areas. This information can be used to assess the status of platypuses and contribute to conservation strategies.”

You can play your part by:

  • Never using Opera House Nets or home made enclosed yabby traps as they can drown platypus and other animals
  • Picking up litter to prevent entanglement
  • Keeping dogs on a leash around waterways
  • Always taking all fishing line home to prevent entanglement.
  • Community members are urged to report crimes against wildlife to Crime Stoppers confidentially on 1800 333 000 or online at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.

For more information on using equipment in waterways visit the Victorian Fisheries Authority website.

For more information on Melbourne Water’s Platypus Program visit the website, email [email protected] or call 131 722.