ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

A rare and critically endangered turtle was found dead earlier this week on the shores of Lake Betoota, sparking discussions between local government authorities about the best way to dispose of the marine mammal.

This afternoon, however, a local vet discovered that the deceased Lake Betoota Hunchback Turtle is 80 percent plastic and should therefore be placed into a local recycling bin.

Speaking to the media this afternoon outside the Diamantina Shire Council offices on Daroo Street in the Old City District, veterinarian Russel Mulgrave said burning or disposing of the turtle would just reintroduce pollutants and carbon into the environment.

“After careful deliberation and discussions between a number of shire councillors and marine biologists, we came to the conclusion that the turtle would be best placed in a yellow bin as it is pretty much made up exclusively of plastic,” said Dr Mulgrave.

“So later on this afternoon, I’m going to head down to where the thing is with a few few blokes and we’re going to pick it up and dump it in the recycling at the Betoota Foreshore Reserve Walk,”

“It’s already starting to pong so the sooner we bin the thing, the better.”

Dr Mulgrave went onto explain that he’d cut it open on the beach when it first washed up to run a few tests but the results only came through today.

“All the bottle caps, fishing line and micro-beads I found in the turtle’s stomach didn’t occur naturally in nature, the lab said. So there’s that.”

As for the danger poised to the rest of the Lake Betoota Hunchback Turtle population, Dr Mulgrave said he’s pretty much powerless to make change.

“They don’t really belong in the food chain or do anything in particular. Except break the feet of waterskiers from time to time. Would you really miss them if they were gone?”

More to come.


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