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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 23, 2014 07:13 GMT
STEPHEN COLBERT GUESTS ON LETTERMAN'S SHOW
NEW YORK (AP) -- It was old meets new on Letterman last night. Stephen Colbert (kohl-BAYR'), who will be taking over for the retiring David Letterman, was a guest on the "Late Show." It was Colbert's first appearance since CBS made the announcement. Colbert says he has a simple plan for his new job -- he's going to do whatever Dave does. That got a laugh from Letterman and the audience. Colbert revealed he was offered an internship decades ago on Letterman's old NBC show. Colbert says he didn't take it because the job didn't pay and New York is an expensive city. Colbert's new gig will start sometime next year.
<<CUT ..001 (04/23/14)>> 00:31 ""
Jamie Friar, AP correspondent
Stephen Colbert, who will be taking over for the retiring David Letterman, was on CBS' "Late Show" last night. The AP's Jamie Friar watched as Letterman introduced his successor. ((opens with sound))
<<CUT ..002 (04/23/14)>> 00:12 "entertaining Stephen Colbert (applause)"
David Letterman welcomes the next host of the "Late Show." COURTESY: Worldwide Pants Productions ((mandatory on-air credit))
<<CUT ..003 (04/23/14)>> 00:13 "it's gone on (laughs)"
Stephen Colbert (kohl-BAYR') and David Letterman
Stephen Colbert jokes he'll be a clone of David Letterman. COURTESY: Worldwide Pants Productions ((mandatory on-air credit))
<<CUT ..004 (04/23/14)>> 00:16 "our own way (laughs)"
David Letterman and Stephen Colbert (kohl-BAYR')
David Letterman says CBS made the right choice in picking Stephen Colbert. COURTESY: Worldwide Pants Productions ((mandatory on-air credit))
<<CUT ..005 (04/23/14)>> 00:11 "an expensive city"
Stephen Colbert (kohl-BAYR') and David Letterman
Stephen Colbert notes he was offered an intership on David Letterman's old show in 1986. COURTESY: Worldwide Pants Productions ((mandatory on-air credit))
DANI MOZ AND TJ WILKINS OUT ON "THE VOICE"
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Last night could have been a disaster for Team Shakira on "The Voice." Two of her three singers were in the bottom three and faced elimination. Tess Boyer and Dani Moz (MOHS) from Shakira's team and TJ Wilkins from Usher's team had to sing a final time each and hope to be saved by viewer tweets. It's Tess who gets the first "instant save" of the season. All the singers from both Team Adam and Team Blake were out of danger.
<<CUT ..006 (04/23/14)>> 00:23 ""
Tess Boyer, performing "Dark Side"
Tess Boyer, performing "Dark Side." COURTESY: NBC ((mandatory on-air credit))
<<CUT ..007 (04/23/14)>> 00:08 "the best singers"
Shakira can't believe Tess Boyer faced elimination. ((Refers to Monday night as "last night")) COURTESY: NBC ((mandatory on-air credit))
<<CUT ..008 (04/23/14)>> 00:09 "congradulations to Tess ((cheers))"
Carson Daly announces which of the bottom three, Tess Boyer, Dani Moz or TJ Wilkins, is saved by the instant Twitter vote. COURTESY: NBC ((mandatory on-air credit))
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Aaron Paul doesn't mind it when fans call him Jesse. He realizes that most people know him for his character on "Breaking Bad." Paul says he's not like Jesse at all and he hopes his latest movie "Need for Speed" will show people he can play other roles.
<<CUT ..011 (04/23/14)>> 00:15 "carving some wood"
Aaron Paul says he hopes Jesse Pinkman has found peace.
<<CUT ..012 (04/23/14)>> 00:15 "kind of floored"
Aaron Paul says they knew from the start that "Breaking Bad" would be a classic.
<<CUT ..013 (04/23/14)>> 00:15 "from, from him"
Aaron Paul says he's used to having fans call him by his "Breaking Bad" character's name.
"VEEP" - JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Julia Louis-Dreyfus has more respect for politicians since starring in "Veep." She says she's impressed by how most can keep "their ideals and moral compass" while serving in Washington. She says "that's hard, man." Louis-Dreyfus says she doesn't know how they do it.
<<CUT ..009 (04/23/14)>> 00:13 "I really don't"
Julia Louis-Drefus says she has more respect for politicans after playing one in "Veep."
<<CUT ..010 (04/23/14)>> 00:11 "long as possible"
Julia Louis-Dreyfus says her favorite type of humor makes you squirm.
"VEEP" AND "SILICON VALLEY" RENEWED
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- "Veep" is sticking around a while longer. HBO has renewed it for a fourth season. HBO also picked up "Silicon Valley" for a second season. It was renewed after only three episodes aired.
AARON SORKIN APOLOGIZES FOR "THE NEWSROOM"
NEW YORK (AP) -- Aaron Sorkin wishes he could have a do-over with "The Newsroom." He told an audience at the Tribeca Film Festival, "you and I got off on the wrong foot." He says "I apologize and I'd like to start over." Sorkin says he wasn't trying to teach journalists how to do their jobs. He says it was "a terrible misunderstanding." Sorkin will get a chance to do things differently in the third and final season.
COURTENEY COX - NO "FRIENDS" REUNION
NEW YORK (AP) -- Not that you were really expecting it, but Courteney Cox says there's no chance of a "Friends" TV reunion. Cox told David Letterman that she can't even get them all together for dinner. And you can forget a "Friends" movie, too. Cox points out that the show took place mostly in their apartments, so it would be hard to expand that into a movie.
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