This is the Mary River Turtle, and it is now my spirit animal. Not only does it sport a bitchin’ mohawk (which is made of algae), it gives the breath of life to itself through its junk. What a hero.
Sadly these little legends have been added to a new list of the most vulnerable reptiles in the world by the Zoological Society of London.
Titled the Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (Edge) list for reptiles, The Mary River Turtle is currently in the 29th position. Part of the problem is that they are extremely localised – only existing in the Mary River in Queensland.
The other issue is sex. According to the Edge website, “The Mary River Turtle takes an exceptionally long time to reach sexual maturity, with individuals not breeding before the age of 25.”
That’s what you get when you use your downstairs mixup for breathing instead of getting down to business.
Edge also cites the building dams, as well as jerks who collect the turtle’s eggs for the pet trade as reasons for the stark population decline, which has been happening since the 1970s.
In an interview with The Guardian the co-ordinator of Edge reptiles, Rikki Gumbs explained how reptiles tend to be overlooked in comparison to birds and mammals when it comes to conservation.
“Just as with tigers, rhinos and elephants, it is vital we do our utmost to save these unique and too often overlooked animals. Many Edge reptiles are the sole survivors of ancient lineages, whose branches of the tree of life stretch back to the age of the dinosaurs. If we lose these species there will be nothing like them left on Earth,” said Gumbs.
If you want to help more reptiles like our little punk turtle mate, you can donate to Edge here.