Yes! We, humans, have done it again. We have pushed the Mary river turtle to the brink of extinction because we are obsessed with keeping them as pets.
The turtles, which are only found in Queensland's river Mary (Australia), were illegally collected for the pet trade throughout the 1960s and 1970s and were sold as 'penny turtle'. The removal of hatchlings and juveniles meant that an entire generation was removed from the wild, leaving behind an aging population, reported Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Queensland.
According to the report, the nests of the turtles are threatened by predators like feral animals and goannas. Also, the nests are trampled by cattle. Fast deterioration of water quality and increase in pollution also play a major role in reducing the population of the reptiles.
Check out some facts about this endangered creature:
The Mary river turtles have green vertical strands of algae growing on their body and when the growth happens on the head, it gives the turtles a striking look, very similar to mohawk style hair.
The turtles can grow up to 40 cm long, also have fleshy finger-like growths under their chin, which help them feel around on the river bed.
But the best feature is none of the above. The most stunning thing probably is the turtle's ability to breathe from its butt. The gill-like organs within its cloaca (a cavity at the end of the digestive tract) allows it to stay underwater for up to three days. It also has a super long tail.
"Reptiles often receive the short end of the stick in conservation terms, compared with the likes of birds and mammals. However, the Edge reptiles list highlights just how unique, vulnerable and amazing these creatures really are," Rikki Gumbs, a coordinator of Zoological Society of London's Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (Edge) list for reptiles, told Science Alert.
Check out a video here: