ABOUT WETLAND HABITATS
Wetlands are areas of land covered in either fresh or salt water. This includes marshes, ponds, lakes, rivers and even low-lying areas that flood a lot.
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 rivers up. This also affects the water supply for humans to use.
Another thing affecting wetlands is contamination with chemicals and waste. The world is connected and our actions on land have an impact on plants and animals everywhere... Waterways lead to the ocean!
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 can be 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.