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.
The Federal Government has released a report into the link between drought and climate change, which it says will trigger major review of drought policy.
The report is by the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO and is the first of three commissioned by the Government.
The report warns that extreme conditions previously thought to occur once in every 20 to 25 years, could become as frequent as every one or two years.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has told ABC1’s Insiders the report paints a very disturbing picture about the future of droughts in Australia.
"When it comes to exceptional or extreme drought, exceptionally high temperatures, the historical assumption that this occurred once every 20 years has now been revised down to between every one and two years," he said. Continue reading