Australia's platypus fights for survival


While the world has focused on koalas badly burned and killed in the Australian bushfires one elusive mammal the duck billed platypus with webbed feet is fighting for its existence.

Australia has experienced prolonged drought, raging fires and factors such as land clearing, dam construction and climate change, have provided challenging conditions for Australia's wildlife.

Marine Wildlife expert Richard Kingsford says it's a warning for protection efforts to be stepped up.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) DIRECTOR OF UNSW'S CENTRE FOR ECOSYSTEM, RICHARD KINGSFORD, SAYING:

"I'm not that pessimistic, I reckon this is just a wake up call. I think, I'm really hopeful that governments and communities will get behind this and, and say, look, we, you know, it's our responsibility, this is one of the most important species in the world, it's iconic, it's an egg-laying mammal and we cannot even think about losing it."

Conservationists and rescuers have found some dead platypus in streams and rivers after the fires in recent months.

Conservation group, Aussie Ark, has gathered video footage showing platypuses stranded and dying as their habitats dry out.

The country has been ravaged by bushfires that have razed an area the size of a third of Germany since September.

The platypus joins koalas and rock wallabies also threatened by Australia's wildfires, which are deemed an ecological disaster.