Five new babies welcomed to the world at TN Aquarium - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Five new babies welcomed to the world at TN Aquarium

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A newly-hatched Beal’s-eyed Turtle, Sacalia bealei. TN Aquarium photo A newly-hatched Beal’s-eyed Turtle, Sacalia bealei. TN Aquarium photo
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

The Tennessee Aquarium’s senior herpetologist Bill Hughes is caring for a special group of Southeast Asian turtles. 

The ten adult Beal’s-eyed Turtles, Sacalia bealei, at the Aquarium are members of a vanishing species.

Five of the Beal’s-eyed Turtles were hatched at the Tennessee Aquarium recently, a significant conservation milestone according to a news release from the Aquarium.

The first Sacalia bealei hatched at the Aquarium in 2007.

Hughes recalls “When I started working with Beal’s-eyed Turtles, I liked their rather small size and appearance,” he said. “This was also a species that very few people had success rearing, so I saw this as a challenge to better understand and help this species.”

There are only 20 Beal’s-eyed Turtles in U.S. facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)  – all at the Tennessee Aquarium.

Researchers estimate that more than half of the 335 turtle species in the world are facing extinction, making this class of animals the most imperiled globally.

Visitors to the Tennessee Aquarium can meet a turtle expert during turtle programs offered daily in the Delta Country exhibit.

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