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Environment Minister Matt Kean has announced that after being absent for over half a century, the iconic platypus is set to make its return to The Royal National Park just south of Sydney.

"We are returning one of Australia's most iconic species to Australia's first National Park," Mr Kean said.

"The platypus is seen nowhere else on the planet and like so many of our other precious native species, its future is uncertain. Unfortunately, we have some of the worst extinctions rates anywhere in the world and we have to make sure the platypus never makes that list."

Once thriving in the rivers of the Royal National Park, there have been no recorded sightings of platypus since the 1970s. This new project will translocate an initial group of 10 platypus, a mixture of males and females, in the first half of 2022.

NPWS will also be investing in public viewing infrastructure once the initial population is established. This will consist of specialist boardwalks and viewing platforms designed to have minimal impact on platypus habitat.

Professor Richard Kingsford from UNSW's Centre for Ecosystem Science says it is vital we develop the capability to actively manage platypus populations and do a better job at protecting their freshwater homes.

"While platypus are resilient animals, we want to make sure future generations can see them in the rivers of the Royal and all the way down the east coast of Australia," said Professor Kingsford.

"Platypus are hard to see and mainly nocturnal animals, so we will survey and assess the condition of all the rivers and creeks in the park and checking which part of the rivers are suitable for reintroducing new individuals."

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