ABOUT WETLAND HABITATS
Wetlands are areas of land covered in either fresh or salt water, including areas such as marshes, ponds, lakes, rivers and even low-lying areas that flood frequently.
Wetlands are considered one of the most productive habitats on earth, meaning that they produce lots of plants and animals!
Wetlands provide us with filtered water, protection from storms, control floods, and are also a fun place to play… and they do all of this for free!
One of the coolest types of wetlands are Rivers! Rivers are mostly fed by rain which means when there is less rain, drought conditions can dry up these rivers. Because of drought, we might not have a good water supply for us humans to use.
This is why it’s important for us to use water wisely even when it seems like there’s a lot! We can help by taking short showers, turning the tap off when we brush our teeth, not watering your grass and encouraging other people to think about ways they can use less water.
It is very important to have a balance between the amount of river water available for plants and animals and for use by humans. We also need to avoid contaminating our rivers with waste - for a healthier life for plants, animals and us! And remember - pollution of our rivers and other waterwyas in wetlands means pollution of our coastal waters!
ANIMAL SPOTLIGHT: THE MARY RIVER TURTLE
The Mary River Turtle is a fascinating creature endemic to Southeast Queensland! That means that it is only found in this region, between Gympie and Kenilworth near the Sunshine Coast.
What makes these animals so special is that they can breathe through their bums! This is a very special and unique adaptation that allows the turtles to stay underwater for days at a time in search of food.
Unfortunately, these turtles are endangered because of loss of habitat and feral animals eating their eggs (a feral animal is domestic animal, like a cat or dog, that has gone wild; feral animals are very destructive of our wildlife). The population was also impacted in the 1960s and 1970s when the young turtles were collected and sold as miniature ‘penny turtles’, when in actual fact they can grow to the size of a dinner plate!
Government and community groups are trying to help these turtles by controlling feral animals, protecting nesting sites from intruders, and habitat conservation.