by Heather Lowe
In October 2010, the TSA imported a group of 50 yellow-headed temple turtles (Heosemys annandalii) that had been confiscated from a large illegal shipment in Hong Kong (read the full story on the import here). The turtles are being kept in an assurance colony at a private facility owned by TSA member Kenan Harkin. We are very pleased to announce that the first clutch of eggs from this group of turtles has hatched!
A single female laid a clutch of eight eggs on 18 January 2011. Kenan collected the eggs and placed them in an incubator on a substrate of vermiculite at a temperature of 82 F with 60 – 70% humidity. On 11 April, the first two eggs had pipped. All eight eggs completed hatching between 11 April and 30 April.
Considering that this group was destined for the markets in China, where they would have been killed to satisfy the demand for meat and turtle parts, this story is especially exciting. Not only were these individuals rescued, but producing hatchlings in their first year lends hope to this group becoming a very valuable assurance colony for this species.
The TSA would like to thank everyone who donated funds to make this entire effort possible. The TSA membership responded generously to this need, as early as March 2010 when the confiscation took place, and large gifts from the Columbus Zoo and the BC Johnson Family put us over the top and made the costly import possible. We would also like to once again acknowledge Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden for the excellent care that they gave the confiscated turtles while they were held in Hong Kong and for their tireless work to negotiate many of the details of their transport. Thanks also to the Taipei Zoo who helped to negotiate a fantastic sponsorship from EVA Airlines to bring the turtles to the U.S. Acknowledgements also go out to the Jacksonville Zoo, Bill Ninesling, and Zoo Atlanta for their assistance with processing these turtles once they arrived. And a very special thank you goes out to Kenan Harkin who has provided this group of turtles with wonderful care in his facility.