Tonight: Partly cloudy with a few showers. Low in the mid to upper 60s.
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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 August 01, 2014 07:08 GMT
"GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY" - ZOE SALDANA
LONDON (AP) -- Zoe Saldana hopes fanboys find her sexy in "Guardians of the Galaxy" even though she has green skin. Saldana says green is not a sexy color. She says it's the color of vegetables, swamp things and "boogers." Saldana took a lot of time coming up with a shade of green that she hopes boys will like. "Guardians of the Galaxy" opens today.
<<CUT ..002 (08/01/14)>> 00:33 ""
Zoe Saldana hopes fanboys find her sexy in "Guardians of the Galaxy." But as we hear from AP Entertainment Editor Michael Weinfeld, they'll have to get over the color of her skin.
<<CUT ..003 (08/01/14)>> 00:13 "and their green"
Zoe Saldana, actor
Zoe Saldana says green isn't a sexy color. ((longer version of cut in wrap))
<<CUT ..004 (08/01/14)>> 00:10 "of a woman"
Zoe Saldana, actor
Zoe Saldana says she hopes she came up with a shade of green that fanboys will find sexy.
<<CUT ..005 (08/01/14)>> 00:07 "that right shade"
Zoe Saldana, actor
Zoe Saldana says the color green has a bad reputation. ((longer version of cut in wrap))
"GET ON UP" - DAN AYKROYD
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Dan Aykroyd has been a fan of James Brown ever since he saw him perform on top of a bar in Canada in 1968. It was at The Esquire Show Bar in Montreal. Aykroyd says Brown's Bolero heels were real close to their beers. And he was backed by his full band, too. Aykroyd plays Brown's manager in "Get On Up," which opens today.
<<CUT ..006 (08/01/14)>> 00:15 "see the show"
Dan Aykroyd, actor
Dan Aykroyd says he's been a fan of James Brown's since seeing him perform on top of a bar in Canada in 1968.
<<CUT ..007 (08/01/14)>> 00:15 "I loved him"
Dan Aykroyd, actor
Dan Aykroyd says he was real close to James Brown when he was performing on top of a bar in Canada in 1968.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Syfy's "Sharknado" swallowed up nearly four million viewers Wednesday night. The ratings for "Sharknado 2: The Second One," nearly tripled the 1.37 million viewers who saw last summer's premiere of the original "Sharknado." The setting in the campy "Sharknado 2" moved from Los Angeles to New York City. The Big Apple is hit by a storm of rain and falling sharks. Syfy says "Sharknado 2" will air again tomorrow and Sunday.
<<CUT ..001 (08/01/14)>> 00:36 ""
Sandy Kozel, AP correspondent
'Sharknado 2' whipped up a storm of viewers and tweets. AP correspondent Sandy Kozel reports.
"GODFATHER" MAKEUP ARTIST
NEW YORK (AP) -- The makeup artist who turned Marlon Brando into "The Godfather" and Linda Blair into a demon in "The Exorcist" has died. Dick Smith also gave Robert De Niro his mohawk in "Taxi Driver" and shared an Oscar for his work turning F. Murray Abraham into an old man in "Amadeus." He also turned Jonathan Frid into a vampire on "Dark Shadows." Smith was the first makeup artist to win an Oscar for lifetime achievement. He was 92.
AUDRA MCDONALD SUICIDE ATTEMPT
NEW YORK (AP) -- Audra McDonald reveals she once tried to kill herself. She told "Popcorn With Peter Travers" that she was in college at Julliard when she tried to slit her wrist. She was battling depression. She says she checked herself into a mental hospital for a month and got the help she needed. The people at Julliard urged her to stick with musical theater because that made her the happiest.
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