Tonight: Cloudy with some rain possible, especially over the southern & eastern part of the viewing area. An overnight low in the upper 40s. A northeast wind at 10mph.
Saturday: Cloudy and breezy at times. Still some light rain possible south ... More...
Oh Baby! Tennessee Aquarium has a Nursery Full of Tiny Turtles
Tiny terrapins are taking over the Tennessee Aquarium, triggering a tidal wave of tasks for turtle keepers. This month to date, herpetologists have tallied two dozen new turtles. While many might think tracking turtles would take a tortoise-like tempo, the Aquarium’s collection of more than 500 turtles from 75 different species makes herpetology truly a trade that’s tackled in track shoes. “In addition to all of the exhibits with turtles, we care for a large number of pairs off exhibit. So we stay busy throughout the year,” said Aquarium senior herpetologist Bill Hughes. “While many species nest at specific times of the year, they don’t choose specific times of the day to lay eggs. So, we really have to keep a close eye on all of the enclosures to make sure we collect the eggs in a timely fashion for incubation.”
Up-To-Date Turtle Tot Totals – 21 New Babies Help Conservation Efforts
Hughes reports eight yellow-blotched map turtles, Graptemys flavimaculata, this year. A few more could hatch at the Aquarium before the season is over. This species of map turtle is endemic to the Pascagoula River and some of its tributaries in Mississippi. “They are declining in the wild because of habitat loss and are currently federally-protected,” Hughes said. Success with species like the yellow-blotched map turtle helps provide offspring that can be placed at other institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). “We’re then able to reach guests with important conservation messages about rare or protected species that cannot, or should not, be removed from the wild,” said Dave Collins, the Aquarium’s curator of forests. See video: http://bit.ly/LPGPE2
The sex of these hatchlings depends on the incubation temperature. Aquarium experts are able to manage the temperature carefully to get an even number of male and female yellow-blotched map turtles. This is critical for the long-term success of any turtle breeding program. “This builds assurance colonies. If these species should disappear in the wild, they won’t become totally extinct,” said Collins. Adult yellow-blotched map turtles can be seen in the Aquarium’s Delta and Pascagoula River exhibits.
The red-headed Amazon River turtle, Podocnemis erythrocephala, is listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, IUCN, but the reality of their status could be much grimmer. “The most recent information is from 1996 so we don’t really know how many are left in the wild,” said Hughes. “It’s difficult to believe their populations have increased significantly since the last report.” There are now seven new baby red-headed Amazon River turtles at the Aquarium. “In the previous years combined, we have only hatched five of this species,” Hughes said. “We still have one egg incubating that appears to be viable.” Aquarium guests can see an adult male red-headed Amazon turtle in the Rivers of the World Gallery. See video: http://bit.ly/MLir6h
The four-eyed turtle, Sacalia quadriocellata, is listed as Endangered by IUCN. The Aquarium has three new four-eyed turtle hatchlings. This species gets its name from the false eye markings on their necks. Hughes said these most recent babies hatched from eggs laid in April. The Aquarium displays a hatchling from last year in the nursery exhibit in the River Journey Turtle Gallery. Baby four-eyed turtles from previous years have been placed at other AZA institutions. The majority of the U.S. population of these turtles is at the Tennessee Aquarium, the only zoo or aquarium currently breeding this species. “Critically endangered species, including many Asian species such as the four-eyed turtle, face a very real threat of disappearing in the wild,” said Collins. Guests can also see four-eyed turtles in the Asian River exhibit. See video: http://bit.ly/QkZzyl
Finally, two Florida chicken turtles, Deirochelys reticularia chrysea, joined the rest of this recent baby boom at the Aquarium. This pair hatched from eggs laid at the end of January. This species is not threatened or endangered in the wild in spite of their common name. They were once commonly sold in southern markets as food. The meat was said to “taste like chicken.” Collins says breeding success among these rather abundant turtles can help other endangered species.
“Chicken turtles have unusual reproductive strategies,” said Collins. “They breed in winter and their eggs need to be cooled for several weeks before being warmed to begin developing. Research in zoos and aquariums helps uncover these details. And that can lead to successful breeding of rare species for conservation purposes.” Aquarium guests can see chicken turtles in the Delta exhibit. See video: http://bit.ly/PuJUJz
More Entertainment News
Last Update on April 18, 2014 08:02 GMT
"AMERICAN IDOL"-DEXTER ELIMINATED
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- It was a bad night for 'Bama on "American Idol" last night. Jessica Meuse (MYOOS) and Dexter Roberts were this week's bottom two. Both are from rural Alabama. But it's Dexter who is going home. He did "Lucky Man" as his farewell song. While he's this week's lowest vote-getter, Dexter gets to be part of this summer's live Idol tour. There are just a half-dozen hopefuls left, as the season heads into its final month.
Dexter Roberts performing "Lucky Man." COURTESY: Fox ((mandatory on-air credit))
REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA STAR ARRESTED
ATLANTA (AP) -- It's a real charge for a cast member of "Real Housewives of Atlanta." Porsha Williams faces a charge of battery -- this, after fellow cast member Kenya Moore told police she was attacked while taping the show. Police say they were called to the Biltmore Hotel on March 27, where Moore told an officer Williams assaulted her. When police went to question her, Moore said she couldn't fill out a statement at the time because she had to be on set. An arrest warrant was issued -- and Williams surrendered Wednesday night. She has since been released. No comment from officials from NBC Universal, parent company of the Bravo network, which airs the show.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG AND HER POT-PEN PAL
DENVER (AP) -- Whoopi Goldberg has nothing but good things to say about her pot pen. She has been using one of those marijuana-vaporizing pens to relieve symptoms from glaucoma. Goldberg writes about her experience in a new column for The Denver Post's Cannabilst Web site. And she says the "vape pen" helps her with the glaucoma headaches -- without getting her overly high off the pot. Goldberg says she's discreet about using the pen if she's in areas of the country where medical marijuana is illegal.
MAN CLAIMS HE WAS ABUSED BY X-MEN DIRECTOR BRYAN SINGER
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A man who claims he was sexually abused by "X-Men" franchise director Bryan Singer says he felt like "a piece of meat." Michael Egan III says he was a teen when he was sexually abused by Singer and others. He says he and other teenage boys were plied with drugs and promises of fame in Hollywood while they were abused and threatened. Egan says he did report the allegations to authorities at the time -- but doesn't know why charges weren't pressed. Meanwhile, Singer's attorney says in a statement that the allegations against Singer are "completely fabricated." Egan sued Singer in Hawaii and is seeking more than $75,000 on each of the four accusations he makes against the director.
"BEARS" - DAVE MATTHEWS
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Dave Matthews puts earth first and thinks you should too. Matthews says even with wars and politics and all the things that worry people, the health of the planet should trump all that. He calls it "the most important message that human beings need to hear." Matthews is a supporter of primatologist Jane Goodall's institute, which is promoting the new documentary "Bears." It opens today.
Dave Matthews says he knows a lot of things occupy people's minds, but it should be ecology.
<<CUT ..011 (04/18/14)>> 00:17 "of Jane's work"
Dave Matthews, musician
Dave Matthews says Jane Goodall showed that animals aren't merely creatures to look at in a zoo. ((note length of cut))
FOX TO DO SEQUEL TO "MRS. DOUBTFIRE"
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- It was a hit more than 20 years ago. So Fox 2000 is looking to light a new fire under an old movie. The studio will re-ignite the comedy "Mrs. Doubtfire," which starred Robin Williams. No deals are in place yet, but a Fox spokeswoman says Williams and Chris Columbus are in talks to be aboard, with Williams re-doing the role of a man who dresses up as a Scottish nanny to spend time with his kids -- and Columbus directing. The original film made more than $400 million worldwide. Among the movie's funniest scenes is when Williams fake breasts catch fire -- and he puts them out with a pair of pot lids.
KEVIN SPACEY AND BILL CLINTON APPEAR AT RAIN FOREST BENEFIT
NEW YORK (AP) -- Kevin Spacey does a pretty mean impression of former President Bill Clinton. So it was no surprise that Clinton got on Spacey's case about that when they both appeared at a 25th Anniversary Rain Forest benefit concert at New York's Carnegie Hall. Spacey mimicked Clinton's praising his Netflix series "House of Cards," in which Spacey plays the president of the United States. Clinton told Spacey he always wanted to be an actor -- but Spacey aced him by getting into his line of work.
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