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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1 hour ago - Science

3 dead and thousands evacuated as Northern California fires explode

A building at the Meadowood Napa Valley luxury resort burns after the Glass Fire moved through the area on September 28, 2020 in St. Helena, California. Photo: by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Three people have died in a wildfire in Northern California and tens of thousands were evacuated across the state, as firefighters contended with strong winds and dry conditions that saw blazes explode across the state on Monday.

Driving the news: Shasta County Sheriff Eric Magrini confirmed the deaths occurred as the Zogg Fire spread across 15,000 acres, forcing the evacuation of 1,200 people. More than for 5o,000 people, per AP.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 33,273,720 — Total deaths: 1,000,555 — Total recoveries: 23,056,480Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 7,147,241 — Total deaths: 205,031 — Total recoveries: 2,794,608 — Total tests: 102,342,416Map.
  3. Business: Companies are still holding back earnings guidance.
  4. Health: Trump announces plan to distribute 150 million rapid tests —The childless vaccine.
  5. Media: Fauci: Some of what Fox News reports about COVID-19 is "outlandish"
  6. States: Cuomo extends New York moratorium on evictions until 2021.
  7. World: More than 1 million people have now died from coronavirus — India the second country after U.S. to hit 6 million cases.
Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Global coronavirus death toll crosses 1 million

Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The global toll of confirmed deaths from COVID-19 crossed 1 million on Monday, according to data from Johns Hopkins.

By the numbers: More than half of those deaths have come in four countries: the U.S. (204,762), Brazil (141,741), India (95,542) and Mexico (76,430). The true global death toll is likely far higher.

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