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Man In Australia Allegedly Takes Wild Platypus On A Train To ‘Show It Off’ At Shopping Mall

Man In Australia Allegedly Takes Wild Platypus On A Train To ‘Show It Off’ At Shopping Mall

A 26-year-old man in eastern Australia has been charged after allegedly stealing a platypus from its natural habitat and taking it on a train trip to show it off to people at a local shopping mall, Queensland police say.

According to police, the man, whose name has not been made public, was accompanied by a woman when he took the platypus from a local waterway on Tuesday. Police say the man and the woman boarded a train in the town of Morayfield, north of Brisbane.

Surveillance footage appears to show the pair traveling on a train Tuesday with the partially aquatic animal wrapped in a towel, police said in a press release. They were “patting it and showing it to fellow commuters,” according to police.

Authorities said they were advised the platypus had been released into a nearby river. It has not been located and its current condition is unknown, and authorities warned that the animal could be in danger.

“The animal may become sick, be diseased or die the longer is it out of the wild and should not be fed or introduced to a new environment,” police said.

Platypuses also have venomous spurs that can seriously injure people and animals.

Native to Australia, platypuses are usually found in freshwater creeks, slow-moving rivers, lakes and dams.

“If you are lucky enough to see a platypus in the wild, keep your distance. Never pat, hold or take an animal from the wild,” police cautioned in a statement.

The man was charged with the “unlawful take and keep of a Platypus from the wild.” The Class 1 offense “carries a maximum penalty of $431,250,” authorities said. The man is slated to appear in court Saturday.

Platypuses are a threatened species “facing a silent extinction,” according to the World Wildlife Fund. The Australian Conservation Foundation notes that “land-clearing, dams, drought, bushfires and climate change — all impacts of human activity — are destroying critical habitat,” leaving the animals “with nowhere to go.”

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