Thursday: Mostly cloudy with a period or two of showers and storms. Ending as the afternoon goes on. High in the mid/upper 80s. ... 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
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Last Update on July 23, 2014 07:32 GMT
CLEANING UP WITH THE KARDASHIANS?
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Call it a case of fighting water pollution with pop culture. Back on Monday, the official Twitter account for the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Water made it appear the government had teamed up with the Kardashian clan to clean the nation's waterways. There was a message about the online game "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood." The video game lets players do important things like appear at red carpets, do photo shoots and other essential acts to help the environment. The EPA says the off-topic tweet was posted by an intern. But before it was pulled down, it drew a joking comment from the account of 88-year-old congressman John Dingell. It asked: What is a Kardashian? The following day Dingell's account indicated the lawmaker now knew what a Kardashian is -- but said that only led to more questions.
Environmental Protection Agency site: http://www.epa.gov
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Michael Douglas had the option of changing the script for the movie "And So It Goes" to avoid uncomfortable parallels with his own life. He chose not to do that. Douglas says his character's son in "And So It Goes" has drug problems, as does his own son, Cameron. He recalls reading the script and shaking his head with a smile. Douglas says he didn't want to change the story because he didn't know what the alternative would be. "And So It Goes" opens Friday.
Michael Douglas says he had an open mind about playing the father whose son has drug problems in "And So It Goes."
<<CUT ..003 (07/23/14)>> 00:14 "seen on screen"
Michael Douglas, actor
Michael Douglas says he and director Rob Reiner were in a movie called "Summertree."
<<CUT ..004 (07/23/14)>> 00:14 "many of us"
Michael Douglas, actor
Michael Douglas says he bonds with director Rob Reiner because they have similar backgrounds.
"DOWNTON ABBEY" RETURNS
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) -- No surprise for the legion of "Downton Abbey" fans. The show will return for a fifth season on PBS in January. The public broadcasting outlet is promising that the show "will have some surprises in it" when it returns. But that assumes U.S. viewers won't be creeping across the pond to glean hints about the show from British online posts, because the show airs earlier in England than it does here. Meanwhile the return date for another PBS series is in limbo. PBS chief Paula Kerger says they will have to wait to find out when the mystery "Sherlock" will finish production before a slot can be determined.
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Fans of X-Men get to enter the mind of Professor X. The Comic-Con pop-culture convention is offering a virtual reality experience, promoting the fall Blu-ray release of "X-Men: Days of Future Past." Visitors to the 20th Century Fox exhibit get to experience the fictional Cerebro technology used to track the X-men mutants. The 90-second virtual adventure is done through an Oculus Rift 3-D headset, while fans sit in Professor X's wheelchair. Comic-Con opens tomorrow in San Diego.
It's a virtual reality trip, into the mind of Professor X. The AP's Jamie Friar reports on one of the attractions at Comic-Con.
<<CUT ..007 (07/23/14)>> 00:07 "to hope again"
Here's Patrick Stewart as Professor X in the "X-Men: Days of Future Past' trailer. ((cut used in wrap))
<<CUT ..008 (07/23/14)>> 00:05 "together, the X-Men"
Here's Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, in the "X-Men: Days of Future Past" trailer.
DENZEL WASHINGTON TO SHOW FILM AT TORONTO FESTIVAL
NEW YORK (AP) -- The names are big in Hollywood: Denzel Washington, Chris Rock and Kate Winslet. But those names will also be prominent in Toronto -- home of an International Film Festival that gets under way in September. Washington and Rock will be among those rolling out films at the event. And Winslet will star in "A Little Chaos," the film that will close out the festival. The Toronto film fest is the considered a major event to help launch into Hollywood's awards season.
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