Wildlife

Australia's drought threatens to wipe out the platypus

 A keeper at Taronga Zoo holds a baby platypus
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.

Jim Beam fined $600,000 for fish kill following July warehouse fire

Bottles of Jim Bean bourbon
Photo: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Jim Beam agreed to pay a $600,000 fine earlier this month and will also reimburse $112,000 to the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet after a bourbon spill in July, AP reports.

Context: A massive fire broke out at a Jim Beam warehouse in July, sending whiskey, hose water, barrel residue and charred debris into the Kentucky and Ohio rivers. Kentucky officials found dead fish along 62 miles of Glenns Creek and the Kentucky River. Dead fish as a result of the spill were also found in the Ohio River, which a state official described as negligible, per AP.

Go deeper: Jim Beam fire runoff into Kentucky River threatens aquatic life