Wednesday March 4th, 2009 home > features > community
featured news and informative articles by local authors Tennessee Land For Sale, TN Farms For Sale, TN Property For Sale
Search Signal Mountain
Signal Mountain Map
Sponsored Links
Girls Preparatory School
Mountain City Realtors
Signal Mountain Homes & Land
Bluff Creek at Fox Run
Your Signal Mountain Home Finder
Push Hard Lumber
Town of Signal Mountain
Official town council meeting minutes
Town council meeting notes
Signal Mountain Town Budget
Signal Mountain Public Library
Signal Mountain Recycling Center
Signal Mountain Post Office
Signal Mountain Emergency Services
Signal Mountain Utility Services
History of Signal Mountain
Just for Kids
Community Interests
Signal Mountain Newcomers
Signal Mountain Historic District
Signal Mountain Recreation & Sports
The Signal Mountain Baptist Church
St. Augustine Catholic Church
Signal Mountain Bible
Signal Mountain Church of Christ
Signal Mountain Presbyterian
St. Timothy's Episcopal
Wayside Presbyterian
Signal Crest United Methodist
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
signal mountain

Community    |    Articles of interest to the community.

this will open the article in a new window that is printer friendly. printer-friendly version
published on 08/21/2008

Another Four-eyed Turtle Hatches at the Tennessee Aquarium

Communications Manager Tennessee Aquarium & IMAX Theater

One individual animal birth is a milestone whenever a species is on the brink of extinction, so having two births of an endangered species in back to back seasons is a significant achievement. Last year, the Tennessee Aquarium announced a North American first when a Beal’s four-eyed turtle, Sacalia bealei, hatched. Now Aquarium biologists are celebrating another baby Beal’s turtle. “Having a second hatchling is great news. I think it’s a really strong next step as we try to build a backlog of experience with this critically endangered species,” said Dave Collins, the Tennessee Aquarium’s curator of forests.

Only 21 of these turtles are known to exist in public zoos and aquariums throughout the United States and Europe. The newest hatchling is the Tennessee Aquarium’s seventh. The only other Beal’s four-eyed turtle on record in the United States is at the Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero, California. The remaining thirteen on record are housed in European zoos.

With more than 500 turtles representing 70 species, the Tennessee Aquarium exhibits more turtles than any other public facility in the United States and is renowned for turtle conservation research. “What we have learned about breeding turtles we have done with a relatively high diversity of species and a relatively small number of individuals,” said Collins.

The Beal’s four-eyed turtle gets its name from the ocelli or false eye markings on the back of the turtle’s head. These turtles were once common throughout southern China, but have seen significant declines in their population in recent years due to over collection for food and traditional medicine trade. Therefore, adding even a single individual to the captive population helps ensure this species does not become extinct. “Breeding turtles is a very slow and steady process, but I think we are onto something. The overall survival of the species may be helped by our efforts at the Tennessee Aquarium and we are willing to share this information with others working with these animals for the long term,” Collins said.

The Beal’s four-eyed turtle is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list of endangered species and some experts believe this species could become extinct in the wild within the next 20 years. Collins admits there’s still more to learn about these particular animals, but he is hopeful that with a helping hand from the Aquarium and other experts worldwide the species will survive. “These youngsters may add more individuals to the captive population three to five years from now. In the meantime, we continue to add to our knowledge and experience as we attempt to bring more of these animals into the world.”

Please if you would like to contribute or find content that is inaccurate.