Beal’s-eyed turtles in the wild have declined rapidly in the last 15 years.
Great news for the Beal’s-eyed turtle (Sacalia bealei) as the Tennessee Aquarium has successfully hatched five of the endangered Southeast Asian turtles. Listed as endangered by the IUCN in 2000, the aquarium has had mild success with its captive breeding program, with one hatching in 2007 and two more in 2008 and 2013. Three hatched in 2014 and five hatched just this summer.
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According to Bill Hughes, senior herpetologist at the aquarium, the number of Beal's-eyed turtles in the wild have declined rapidly in the last 15 years due to the Chinese food market and the supposed medicinal properties of the reptile. The Tennessee Aquarium is home to all the Beal’s-eyed turtles currently in the United States. The aquarium has 20 but will transfer three to the Knoxville Zoo, Hughes said. “We will also seek other Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited institutions that will be interested in working with this species,” Hughes told The Chattanoogan.
The Beal’s-eyed turtle is native to China and Hong Kong. It is a semi-aquatic turtle that lives in streams and brooks. It is on the IUCN Red List of most endangered turtles.
John B. Virata keeps a western hognose snake, a ball python, two corn snakes, a king snake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased for $5. His first pet reptile was a green anole that arrived in a small box via mail order. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata