PUNK ROCKER: The Mary River turtle likes to live on the edge but locals are keen to keep them surviving.
PUNK ROCKER: The Mary River turtle likes to live on the edge but locals are keen to keep them surviving. Contributed

This punk now far from sunk out Mary River way

THEY are known to their protectors as the punk rocker turtles, thanks to the mohawks of moss that sprout from their head.

And now the Kenilworth community and beyond, with support from Sunshine Coast Council, is ready to make a passionate stand for the Mary River turtle - an endangered species found nowhere else in the world but this catchment.

The council has now implemented a program designed to protect this special creature from predation by feral animal species.

Local councillor Greg Rogerson this week teamed up with Mary River Turtle Conservation Program head Marilyn Connell and Travis, a Mary River turtle.

The council will work with 22 participating landholders along the Mary River in a joint effort to protect the turtle by controlling feral animals.

"In 2018 the Mary River Turtle was assessed as the 29th most endangered reptile in the world and it's our job do to everything we can to protect it,” Cr Rogerson said.

"The single biggest threat to this turtle's chances of survival is the predation on nesting sites by the feral animals, particularly foxes.

"We are working in partnership with Fraser Coast Council, Gympie Council, Noosa Council, Tiaro and District Landcare Group and participating landholders along the Mary River in a joint effort to protect our punk rocker turtle.”

Travis belongs to one of five turtle species that live in the river.

Researchers from the University of Queensland have been studying some of the habitat requirements and threats to the turtle with Landcare operating a nest protection program and supports research on this turtle. Landcare's conservation program has world recognition and has saved at least 6000 hatchlings through nest protection activities.

The Mary River turtle is a cloacal ventilator (breathes oxygen through its anus) which allows the species to stay under water for days at a time when the water is flowing.


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