Never Mind the Mohawk, Here’s the Mary River Turtle

Sorry for the bad pun… These great images were captured by photographer Chris van Wyk in Queensland, Australia (the green ‘mohawk’ effect, remniscent of the British subculture of the early 1980’s is actually an ephiphytic turf algae growing on the shell and head of the turtle). The Mary River turtle (Elusor macrurus) is considered “endangered” under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act in Queensland, and is geographically limited to shallow slow moving waters in the Mary River and it’s tributaries. Not only is it one of Australia’s largest species of turtles (>50cm), it is the sole species in it’s genus, representing an incredibly old lineage of turtles that has since disappeared from Australia’s evolutionary history. As Queensland has been in one of the longest draughts in over a century, the Queensland government is intending on creating a dam in the Mary River, impacting upon the habitat of the Mary River turtle and a host of other rare and endangered native species such as the Queensland lungfish and the Murray River cod.

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