This turtle with a green mohawk is one of the most endangered reptiles in the world

April 12, 2018 by  
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It’s not every day you see a turtle with a mohawk – even if that mohawk is made up of algae and not hair. The Mary River turtle is eye-catching for this stylish feature, and it is also known as a butt-breather, or a reptile that can breathe through its genitals. But this unique animal is now ranked 29 out of 100 on the Zoological Society of London ‘s EDGE of Existence Program , a list of vulnerable reptiles . According to an article from herpetologist Rikki Gumbs, the Mary River turtle can breathe through organs in its cloaca — an ability that allows the turtle to remain underwater for as long as 72 hours. Gumbs is also a lead author on a recently published PLOS One study that, according to The Guardian , highlights that reptiles such as the Mary River turtle are in trouble. According to Gumbs, “Intense historical collection for the pet trade, combined with habitat disturbance in its tiny range, mean this species is threatened with extinction .” We launched our #EDGEreptiles list yesterday, and the #punkturtle Elusor macrurus has stolen the show with its algae mohawk and unique ability to breathe through its genitals! Read more about the Mary river turtle here: https://t.co/CLfd355DQT pic.twitter.com/TYhZPyWveT — EDGE of Existence (@EDGEofExistence) April 12, 2018 Related: Turtle hatchlings spotted on Mumbai beach for the first time in nearly 20 years The freshwater turtle lives in Queensland , Australia in — as you might have guessed — the Mary River.  EDGE  explained yet another reason why the turtle is so distinct: “The only species in its genus, the Mary River turtle diverged from all other living species around 40 million years ago. In comparison, we split from our closest relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos, less than 10 million years ago.” The International Union for Conservation of Nature  also lists the Mary River turtle as endangered on its Red List. EDGE said it takes a long time for the reptiles to reach sexual maturity; they don’t breed before age 25. Dam construction is one key factor in their decline. The organization said conservation programs are now in place to protect the species. Other striking turtles that made the top 10 list include the Cantor’s giant softshell, which is among the largest freshwater turtles in the world; the pig-nosed turtle, whose nose says it all; and the Roti Island snake-necked turtle, “one of the 15 most endangered turtles worldwide.” + Top 100 EDGE Reptiles + Top 10 Most Amazing EDGE Reptiles + Mary River turtle + PLOS One Via The Guardian Image courtesy of Chris Van Wyk/Zoological Society of London

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This turtle with a green mohawk is one of the most endangered reptiles in the world

Malaysia just established a massive 1-million-hectare marine park

June 1, 2016 by  
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After over 13 years of negotiation and planning between conservation groups, the government, and the fishing industry, Malaysia recently established a massive 1-million-hectare marine park. The new one million-hectare Tun Mustapha Park, located by the Sabah Province in the Coral Triangle, is home to endangered species such as dugongs and green turtles. About 360 fish species, over 250 hard coral species, and vegetation such as mangroves add to the richness of this ocean space. Unsustainable fishing practices such as blast fishing had damaged the area, but a 2012 research team discovered that out of the reefs they examined, about 57 percent could be classified as ” excellent ” or ” good .” However, they also noted pollution and heard 15 bombs from blast fishing. They didn’t see many sharks or sea turtles, which is typically a signal that an ecosystem is struggling. Related: Scientists discover a 600-mile-long coral reef in the most unlikely place The fishing industry profits from being able to use the area, but so do local communities. Around 80,000 people survive off fishing in the region. As officials worked out the details of the Tun Mustapha Park, they had to balance conservation with the needs of locals. Their solution is designated fishing zones for ” sustainable uses “, which were set up with the input of the fishing industry and locals. The Sabah Parks department confirms the park will be “a multiple use, managed area” with spots for artisanal and commercial fishing as well as areas under “strict protection.” According to World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Malaysia, damaged regions will be allowed to recover. This could take three to five years for areas that haven’t been too badly harmed, but five to ten years for areas in worse condition. There’s also potential for ecotourism : with 50 islands in the Tun Mustapha Park, visitors could enjoy activities from diving to volunteering in turtle nesting locations to lounging on white sand beaches. WWF International Director General Marco Lambertini said , “The Park’s gazettement should act as a model and an inspiration for marine conservation in the Coral Triangle and worldwide.” Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Malaysia just established a massive 1-million-hectare marine park

New Zealand is about to create one of the world’s largest marine reserves

September 30, 2015 by  
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New Zealand has announced plans to turn a vast area of the South Pacific, about 600 miles northeast of New Zealand’s North Island, into a marine sanctuary. The Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary is almost the size of Texas and includes the Kermadec Islands archipelago as well as a chain of underwater volcanoes . The government plans to pass legislation next year to create the sanctuary in what New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key called “one of the most geographically and geologically diverse areas in the world.” Read the rest of New Zealand is about to create one of the world’s largest marine reserves

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NASA crowns the 3D-printed space igloo as the most livable habitat for Mars

September 30, 2015 by  
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