Become a citizen scientist and help spot platypus in the Macquarie River this August and September.
These months are when the elusive Australian animal is more active because it is breeding.
The platypus is not classified as endangered in NSW but specialists hope to change that. They say anecdotal evidence shows platypus are vulnerable and the official status should reflect this like it already does in Victoria and South Australia.
Locals are encouraged to go down to their waterway - dawn and dusk are the best times - wait and watch quietly and if they spot a platypus to plot it on the online map.
James Witcombe, a Dubbo zookeeper who has previously worked with platypus in the zoo and is an enthusiast about watching platypus in the wild, said you can see them around the Macquarie and Talbragar Rivers, as well as in the waterways down behind the zoo.
"The paddocks below the zoo across from the water treatment plant there are platypus being seen. They are in the heart of Dubbo - it's a matter of people getting out and looking for them," Mr Witcombe told the Daily Liberal.
"These animals are very reliant on water. If there's a platypus it should mean there's a good source of food and ideally a healthy river system."
He wanted to share an important message to people who put yabby nets in the rivers and creeks - "don't leave them unattended".
"Finding a deceased platypus in the net is devastating. When a platypus swims in, they can't get out ... We haven't found a trap that isn't harmful to platypus. Supervision [of yabby nets] is the best [answer]."
Mr Witcombe said "we do believe the population is rapidly declining so we are collecting the evidence so it can be said definitely [that they are a threatened species]".
The Taronga Western Plains Zoo is building Platypus Rescue HQ, a facility that will provide future refuge for drought-threatened wild platypus, an ongoing research centre to study platypus behaviour and a pre-release area to prepare recovered platypus for release to the wild.
Platypus Month is marked across Australia in August and the Australian Conservation Foundation hosts Spot A Platypus Month in September when people are encouraged to report their sightings online at the Platy-project at www.acf.org.au/platy-project
ACF nature campaigner Peta Bulling said a formal threatened species classification would mean platypus would be a protected species.
"Lack of data means we can't prove their decline," she told the Daily Liberal.
"During September ACF asks people right across the country and NSW to become citizen scientists and head down to their local creeks and rivers and spot platypus. The data we're trying to collect is to map their distribution."
She said platypus were very special animals as they were one of only five egg-laying mammals or 'monotremes'.
"It's biofluorescent fur glows under ultra-violet light and it looks like something a kindy class has made up," she said.
"The platypus is our state emblem - now it's time for the people of NSW to stand up and protect it."