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A keeper at Taronga Zoo Sydney holds a baby platypus. Photo: Fairfax Media via Getty Images

Australia's climate catastrophe has triggered record-breaking heat waves, drought and a ferocious bushfire season — and it's left the platypus on the brink of extinction, a new study warns.

Why it matters: The semiaquatic egg-laying mammal was once considered widespread across the eastern Australian mainland, but drought conditions have led to "the extinction of local populations across about 40 per cent of the species' range," University of New South Wales researchers said in a statement Monday.

By the numbers: After examining issues including water resource development, land clearing, climate change and increasingly severe periods of drought, the researchers predicted platypus numbers would drop 47%–66% over 50 years.

  • Taking into account projected climate change rates, the unique animal's population numbers are forecast to plummet 51%–73% by 2070.

What they're saying: The University of Melbourne's professor Brendan Wintle, a co-author of the study, published in the February edition of the journal Biological Conservation, said preventative measures need to be taken now.

  • "Even for a presumed 'safe' species such as the platypus, mitigating or even stopping threats, such as new dams, is likely to be more effective than waiting for the risk of extinction to increase and possible failure," he said.
  • "We should learn from the peril facing the koala to understand what happens when we ignore the warning signs," Wintle added.

Go deeper:

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Scoop: CIA director Gina Haspel almost resigned over plan to install Kash Patel as deputy

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel almost resigned in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelations stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

NRA declares bankruptcy, says it will reincorporate in Texas

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA) speaks during CPAC in 2016. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The National Rifle Association said Friday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will seek to reincorporate in Texas, calling New York, where it is currently registered, a "toxic political environment."

The big picture: The move comes just months after New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.

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