Platypus in Crisis

Author: Scott Jamison
Lesson Plan:

Activity: RAFT


You are the Australian Minister of Fisheries and Wildlife and will be speaking to the members of Parliament concerning an urgent environmental issue. The task before you is to create an oral and visual presentation outlining the short-term AND long-term goals designed to achieve the desired outcome as stated in the handout below.



  1. An opening statement which explains, in detail, the issue before the Minister of Fisheries and Wildlife (information contained in article)
  2. Background information on the platypus; be sure to include habitat and location
  3. Mission statement (Written declaration expressing your desired outcome)
  4. Outline (bullets) of short term goals-strategies to achieve mission statement
  5. Any other information your department deems relevant to the report


Slide Requirement: Maximum of 4 bullets-7 words per bullet

  • Your oral presentation should “fill in the blanks” and provide more details to your bulleted topics.


Research Requirements: Include a separate bibliography sheet listing your sources

MLA citation format will be utilized to cite sources


The Platypus in Crisis


     The platypus is not endangered at the present time.  However, it is considered vulnerable and rare.  That means that it has a low population and its environment is threatened.  The platypus is sensitive to pollution in the water.  Pollution destroys the river habitat.  It also kills the crustaceans that supply the platypus with food.  Australia has embarked on a new program of aggressive industrialization.  They are trying to export high technology like telecommunications, radar networks and aircraft, instead of just raw materials like wool, coal, beef and diamonds.  This increased industry puts added pressures on the environment. 

      The second threat to the platypus is the increase in population.  Although Australia’s population is still relatively small, it has been experiencing high immigration rates ever since WWII.  Ninety percent of the population lives in cities along the coast.  These cities are now beginning to witness suburban sprawl.  This means that much of the best land is being cleared for residential housing.  This increased land use is placing additional pressure on the environment.

     In short, the threat to the platypus represents the conflict between industry and the environment.  If too much emphasis is placed on environmental protection, then it becomes impossible for industry to compete on the global market and maintain a profit margin.  On the other hand, if we place too little emphasis on environmental protection, then we sacrifice our children’s future for temporary gain.


Minister of Fisheries and Wildlife


You are responsible for managing the fish and wildlife for the country.  That means using them to improve life without endangering any species.  You are very concerned about the platypus.  It lives in the slow-moving rivers of eastern Australia.  Unfortunately, this area is experiencing significant expansion of the suburbs.  That means that some of the platypuses will have to be displaced, but more important, additional sewage will be dumped in the rivers.  This destroys the habitat and food supply of the platypus.  In addition, waste products from the new factories are beginning to have an impact on the rivers.  Although the platypus is not on the endangered species list yet, you are afraid that if you do not protect their habitat now, there may not be time to save the platypus in the future.  The warning signs are there.  Your job is to initiate programs that will prevent the platypus from being placed on the endangered species list.