Australian Ecologists Restored An Old Plantation, Now The Platypus Population Is Returning

Melbourne Water/Flickr

In 2016, ecologist Mark Bachmann was at a crossroads. He and his nonprofit team had spent the previous three years in Victoria, Australia, transforming a huge tract of agricultural land back into the beautiful wetland it once was. 

Their final step involved acquiring 1,000 acres of a commercial blue gum plantation, and Bachmann had no idea how Nature Glenelg Trust, a regional, non-profit, was going to swing the deal.

During a moment of self-doubt, Bachmann spotted a platypus. Luckily, he recorded the moment.

Screenshot Nature Glenelg Trust, Mark Bachmann

“We’re rural people, practical people, we work with farmers a lot, science underpins what we do…There are no layers of bureaucracy; we are a very lean operation, but we get a lot done,” Bachmann said.

Seeing the platypus motivated him to keep working hard and stay positive. It is no easy feat for Nature Glenelg Trust to purchase and transform 1,035 acres. The process requires stripping the land of trees, and then allowing the land to flood. 

Previously the land was drained for grazing, then converted into a wastewater system, and then reformed into a blue gum plantation.

“That platypus had been bunkering down in the permanent pools that our previous work had created. It confirmed that what we were doing was so important for the river…

It was an indicator that by allowing the place to flood, we’d enabled everything to go ‘boom’ and start spreading out looking for food and habitat, or a place to breed.”

In just a couple years time after sighting the platypus and procuring the funds to acquire the land, combined with lots of determination and hard work, Bachmann and team repaired the whole wetland system.

Watch the full restoration project HERE.

Lead image: Melbourne Water/Flickr.


Written by Abigale Racine