Only found in the Mary River in South-East Queensland, the reptile has the ability to extract oxygen from the water through a gill-like structure in its cloaca and is one of the largest of its species in Australia.It has been nicknamed the ‘bum-breathing punk turtle’ after a photo of one rocking an algae mohawk with spikes under its chin was taken by Sunshine Coast photographer Chris Van Wyk and received worldwide attention.The ‘punk turtle’ image has been printed on shirts in an effort to raise funds to help protect the turtle and now the Melbourne punk scene has also rallied support the bum-breather. (Supplied: Stevie Galati and Chris Van Wyk)
But it was not all about money, Galati also feels it was an extremely valuable exercise in raising awareness about the animal.”We had a really good turnout and raised lots of awareness, that’s the biggest goal,” Galati said.”Any donation would be great, but it’s raising awareness. Photo:
Chris Van Wyk’s photo of the Mary River turtle has been used internationally raising awareness about Queensland’s Mary River turtle. (Supplied: Mohammed bin Zayed species conservation fund)
The turtles have not just won over the punk scene, the bum-breather also has some royal fans.Earlier this year the endangered Mary River turtle was recognised by royalty, with Ms Connell invited to speak at an event hosted by Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan.Conservation is a priority of the Crown Prince, and in 2010 the turtle program was awarded funds through the Mohammed bin Zayed species conservation awards.As well as the Mary River turtle, the Mary River is home to a variety of unique wildlife such as the Australian lungfish and the Mary River cod. Photo:
‘Punk turtle’ badges featuring Chris Van Wyk’s image were created Save the Punk Turtle gig night at Bombay Rock in Brunswick Melbourne. I had a lot of people saying they didn’t even know what this turtle was and now they are looking into it.”People that couldn’t make it were also donating.”Tiaro Landcare team leader Marilyn Connell appreciated the support from the turtle-loving Melbourne punks and hopes one day she can get in the mosh pit if the bands make the trip up to the Mary River.”It sort of blows you away how enthusiastic and keen they are,” Ms Connell said.”You just never know who is going to contact you next and say we want to do something.”It’s awesome.”Unique river has royal support as well
Tiaro Landcare’s Marilyn Connell meets with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan and Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of Abu Dhabi Environment Agency. (Supplied: Chris Van Wyk)
A benefit gig was organised in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick to raise funds and awareness after the turtle was listed as one of the top 100 edge reptiles by the Zoological Society of London EDGE program (Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered) early this year.Steven ‘Stevie’ Galati describes himself as a ‘dude in a band’ and is one of the punks who put on the ‘Tales from the Pit: Save the Punk Turtle’ fundraiser which featured seven music performers, including Galati’s band Undamaged, and invited Melbourne punks to “sink some beers, watch some rad bands, and come together for the punk turtle”.Punk music has a rich history of protest as well as providing a voice for outsiders and that is one of the reasons Galati and his friends united behind the Mary River turtle.”Hearing the news that it’s one of the most endangered reptiles on the planet really sparked interest for a lot of people,” Galati said.”It’s a very unique animal and seeing the pictures, I saw an opportunity, it does look like a punk turtle.”The thing I love about the punk rock community is we all stick together, and now our little mate is in trouble, it’s time to stick together for him.”The band night raised $375 with ticket sales and donations for a badge featuring the punk turtle for the Tiaro Landcare group, an organisation who studies the reptile and educates landowners how to protect the turtle.
Bum-breathing turtles bring conservationists and farmers together
Melbourne punks rally for Qld bum-breathing turtle
ABC Wide Bay
August 01, 2018 06:46:41
Galati from punk band Undamaged helped fundraise for the equally punk Mary River turtle. (Supplied: Stevie Galati/Chris Van Wyk)
Dry weather affecting Queensland's bum-breathing turtle
Queensland’s Mary River turtle, also known as the bum-breathing turtle, has attracted some unexpected support from a bunch of punks in Melbourne, Victoria.