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Rogue fishing line kills vulnerable platypus in Bairnsdale

The Conservation Regulator is urging fishers to dispose of fishing line responsibly after a platypus became entangled and drowned in the Mitchell River at Picnic Point, Bairnsdale last Thursday 10 June.

Thursday 17 June 2021 11:00pm
Published by Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
Gippsland Senior Forest and Wildlife Officer Glenn Lineham with the deceased platypus
Gippsland Senior Forest and Wildlife Officer Glenn Lineham with the deceased platypus.

The male platypus was found dead by a member of the public with the fishing line caught between its bill and head.

It is unclear if the fishing line had broken off from a rod or was part of an illegal set line.

It’s important not to leave rubbish in our waterways or throw away broken lines and nets, as they have the potential to trap and drown platypus and other native species such as rakali (native water rat) turtles and birds. 

In January, the platypus was listed as a vulnerable species by the Victorian Government and further work is being done to protect the iconic species, including funding to support habitat restoration.

The maximum penalty for illegally hunting, taking or destroying threatened wildlife is $39,652 or 24-months imprisonment, or both.

Anyone with information about this incident or other wildlife crimes can make a confidential report to Crime Stoppers Victoria on 1800 333 000.

If you come across distressed or injured wildlife, you can find information on how to help online at  https://www.wildlife.vic.gov.au/injured-native-wildlife/help-for-injured-wildlife.

Quotes attributable to Gippsland Senior Forest and Wildlife Officer Glenn Lineham

We need to keep our waterways clear of rubbish to protect native wildlife, as foreign objects like fishing line, nets, plastic pack rings and even hair ties can be deadly to animals like the platypus which are at risk of getting stuck in these items and drowning while foraging for food underwater.

We know fishing is extremely popular in Victoria, so we ask the fishing community to play their part by removing anything they put in the water, including collecting any broken fishing lines.

Glenn Lineham
Gippsland Senior Forest and Wildlife Officer
Conservation Regulator Victoria

Reviewed 23 June 2021

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