Blanding’s turtles, nearing extinction, find help in NS zoo

Our local zoo, Oaklawn Farm, has reportedly taken on and hatched some hundred Blanding’s turtle eggs, a breed of Nova Scotia turtle that’s on the endangered species list. Oaklawn Farm Zoo is the former home to the largest African lion in captivity in North America, Rutledge, who died of old age recently.

Blanding turtle hatchlings in a tank

In June, more than 100 Blanding’s turtle eggs were moved from Kejimkujik National Park — in the southern half of the province — to the Oaklawn Farm Zoo in Aylesford.

They’ve since hatched and the tiny turtles are quickly getting stronger and bigger on a steady diet of trout pellets and mealworms.

“There is a very high predation rate and it’s estimated that only about one per cent of these hatchlings survive naturally,” said Duncan Smith, a biologist with Parks Canada.

“That’s why we’re seeing if we can bolster that with this incubation and headstarting program.”

Blanding’s turtles are medium-sized freshwater turtles. Adults have dark-green, high-domed shells with yellow flecks and are easily identified by their distinctive yellow throats and undersides.

The Nova Scotia population of the Blanding’s turtle is listed as threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, while the provincial Endangered Species Act lists them as endangered.

The original story at CBC has some absolutely adorable video of the hatchlings.

It is good that the Zoo is taking on these new challenges, with how clean and safe and expansive the habitats are (in my estimation) for their charges. Every time I’ve visited, I’ve gotten the sense that the animals are taken care of very well, with plenty of roaming room and appropriate habitats for each species. It warms my heart that the endangered turtle species is being given a second chance by these great folks. If it weren’t nearing the end of the zoo season, I’d take a run down just to see them.

That reminds me, I have yet to post my recent visit to the Halifax Natural History Museum and the pics I took of Gus and some other turtles. Now that I’ve remembered once, I’ll surely forget again. Remind me again sometime, will you?

Royal Thai Navy <3’s sea turtles

I’m pretty much in desperate need of happy-making material at the moment. And yes, the film series in my previous post was quite replete with that (see especially Hugh and Gerald’s story of the First Pride Parade — their story about the police officer’s awe is great). But sometimes it takes a special sort of something to fix my doldrums.

Something like this nuclear bomb of adorableness.

Apparently the Royal Thai Navy’s efforts were instrumental in preserving the otherwise endangered hornbill sea turtles, and they’ve been doing it since 1950.

Obama rejects Keystone XL Pipeline proposal

But that doesn’t mean the end of the pipeline, or Canada’s tar sands.

The U.S. government has denied an application by TransCanada to build the Keystone XL pipeline, the State Department announced Wednesday.

A statement released by the department said it doesn’t preclude TransCanada applying again with a different route.

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said the government hopes a new TransCanada application will be approved, but Canada is going to look to other markets to sell its oil.

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