TSA Turtle Tuesday:  Southern River Terrapin

Today we celebrate the Southern River Terrapin (Batagur affinis). It is one of the world’s six species of river terrapins that make up the genus Batagur.

River terrapins have slightly domed, smooth shells and pointed snouts. The Southern River Terrapin was once an abundant species that was highly regarded. The eggs of these turtles were so prized that they were deemed the sole property of the ruling kings.

Today wild populations are in decline but organizations such as the TSA and the Wildlife Conservation Society have developed successful conservation programs that include nest protection and raising young individuals before releasing them into the wild.

read more: Turtle Survival Alliance


I have been getting a lot of compliments on the In Defense of Plants logo. I too am quite excited - a big thank you to Thom Pirson for designing it! You can now stick this beautiful In Defense of Plants logo anywhere for only $6! These 4”x4” stickers are waterproof and printed using soy based inks. The best part of this purchase is that I will be donating 20% of the sales to the Native North American Orchid Conservation Center. Each sticker purchased will help the first centralized effort to preserve native orchids in the United States and Canada. At this point in time I can only ship to the the United States and Canada. So, there you have it. Stock is limited so get your orders in!


Treatment Report for the Conservation Lab Sink

Conservation Treatment Report for the Conservation Lab Sink

Condition and Description Summary:

This is a stainless-steel double sink, with a crook neck faucet and individual handles for hot and cold water control. The sink is in poor condition, with a thick encrustation of desiccated PVA glue. No signs of previous cleaning attempts are visible.

Treatment Proposal

The encrusted glue will be removed mechnically, assisted by an application of warm aqueous Dihydrogen Monoxide. After a careful review of the literature and historical context of the sink, the minor amount of surface abrasion that might occur was determined to be an acceptable amount of loss. Appropriate protective gear will be employed by the conservator, such as an apron. A MSDS for Dihydrogen Monoxide is available here: http://www.dhmo.org/facts.html

Possible Effects of Treatment:

Without proper stretching or motivation, the conservator could be subjected to cramped fingers, elbows, or shoulders as a result of the effort required by the mechanical removal method. If the motivational music ceases to play, the conservator may become overly frustrated and not continue the treatment. There is a likely possibility of solvent over-splash, which could affect nearby working areas such as the counter-top surrounding the sink, and the dish drainer. The conservator’s fingers might become all pruny, as a result of extended exposure to warm water. Finally, if the treatment is successful, the conservator might experience a great deal of Personal Satisfaction at a Job Well Done.

Treatment Performed:

1) A suitable musical playlist was selected, so as to increase the chances of success and improve the morale of the conservator. The name of the playlist was “Your Own 80’s Training Montage”, available on Songza (http://songza.com/lis…/your-own-80s-training-montage-songza/)

2) The basin of the sink was filled with hot tap water, approximately 90 degrees F. The water was retained via the use of the original drain plugs, as per the original intent of the sink’s creator. The sink was left to soak for 20 minutes.

3) Using a combination of determination, gumption, and a 2” wide metal paint scraper, the encrusted glue was removed mechanically. A green Scotch-Brite (tm) brand scouring pad was also applied vigorously to the sink’s surface as an additional removal method. The volume of the musical playlist was increased when the conservator determined it to be appropriate.

4) The sink was given a final rinse with warm tap water and allowed to air dry.

Total treatment time: 1.5 hours.

Treatment Photography:

Before Treatment: Unavailable. (The conservator will be reprimanded appropriately.)

During Treatment (the left basin had already been treated at the time of the photograph):

After Treatment:


In Baltimore Canyon offshore Maryland, scientists discovered a nearly 15-foot tall colony of Paragorgia or ‘bubblegum’ coral like this one (pictured here). Almost otherworldly, right?

But industrial fishing practices threaten to destroy the fragile, living seafloor that has taken hundreds — or even thousands — of years to establish. We have LESS THAN 24 HOURS LEFT to make our voices heard in defense of these beautiful and vulnerable deep-sea coral communities off the Atlantic coast!

Please take action now protect them:

NRDC Defenders

Endangered chimpanzees may experience drastic habitat loss within 5 years

The Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti) is the most endangered of all chimpanzee subspecies in the world, with only about 6,000 individuals estimated in the wild. While their habitats are already threatened by logging, agriculture and illegal hunting, few studies have looked at the possible effects of climate change.

First author Paul Sesink Clee, Graduate Research Fellow at Drexel University, USA, said: “The Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee is perhaps the least studied of all chimpanzee subspecies. This is the first time that their distribution and habitat has been studied in such detail, and the data used to predict how their habitats might alter under climate change. We were surprised to see that the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees living in the savanna-woodland habitat of central Cameroon are under the most immediate threat of climate change, and may completely lose their habitat within our lifetime…”

While the team predicted little change in the mountainous rainforest habitat, the ecotone habitat of the second population was predicted to decline quickly under all scenarios by the year 2020 and could disappear almost entirely under the worst case scenario by 2080. With roughly half of the 6,000 Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees existing in the ecotone habitat of central Cameroon, the results suggest that this subspecies of chimpanzee is particularly vulnerable to climate change. (continue)

Journal Source:
Paul R Sesink Clee, Ekwoge E Abwe, Ruffin D Ambahe, Nicola M Anthony, Roger Fotso, Sabrina Locatelli, Fiona Maisels, Matthew W Mitchell, Bethan J Morgan, Amy A Pokempner, Mary Katherine Gonder. Chimpanzee population structure in Cameroon and Nigeria is associated with habitat variation that may be lost under climate changeBMC Evolutionary Biology, 2015; 15 (1) DOI:10.1186/s12862-014-0275-z (PDF)

Photo credit: 
"Ngambe", Limbe Wildlife Center, Cameroon. (Paul Sesnik Clee)

A Refuge for Endangered Birds

The Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge in central Texas is named for the “balconies” or limestone terraces on the refuge. 60 million years ago, central Texas was a shallow sea thriving with primitive fish and other wildlife.

Now the refuge provides habitat for the endangered black-capped vireo – watch these newly hatched vireos scramble for breakfast! 

(via: USFWS National Wildlife Refuge System)


The International Fund for Animal Welfare is asking people to sew mittens for injured koalas. IFAW campaigner Josey Sharrad says:

Koalas with burns to their paws need to have them treated with burn cream and wrapped in bandages. They then need special cotton mittens to cover the dressings. All this needs changing daily so we’re asking if you can help us by sewing koala mittens – as many as they can before the fire season truly hits.

Click here for a special pattern and make your mittens from clean 100% cotton. Old sheets, tea towels or cotton t-shirts are ideal.

Send your mittens to IFAW at 6 Belmore Street, Surry Hills 2010

It’s easy even if you’ve never sewn before - just a simple pocket. More info here.

Photo credit: John Paoloni/IFAW


Seriously, this guy is a real pro. South American common toad (Rhinella margaritifer). Their greatest defense is to just… not move. Imagine being a predator and you catch some movement out of the corner of your eye (if that’s your primary sense) - you stop, turn, look. Wait. Listen. All you see are leaves. Way to go, little toad. Evolution did you a solid. 


Baby Pangolin Born at Taipei Zoo

On September 30th, the Taipei Zoo welcomed the birth of a female Pangolin, named “Gung-wu”.

The tiny Pangolin, born with eyes half open, began crawling, within an hour of birth, in search of nourishment from her mother. Although the Pangolin mother was a willing participant, she was unable to provide an adequate supply of milk for the new baby.

Zoo staff were patient with the new mother, but when the baby began to lose weight, the decision was made to intervene on behalf of the newborn. Now, zoo keepers provide 24 hour care and feeding for “Gung-wu”, and her weight and health have stabilized…

Read more: ZooBorns


BeeSweet™ Lemonade founder Mikaila Ulmer, 10:

"When I was just four, my family encouraged me to make a product for a Children’s business competition (the Acton Children’s Business Fair) and Austin Lemonade Day. So I put on my thinking cap. I thought about some ideas. While I was thinking, two big events happened.  

  • I got stung by a bee. Twice.  
  • Then my Great Granny Helen, who lives in Cameron, South Carolina, sent my family a 1940’s cookbook, which included her special recipe for Flaxseed Lemonade.  

I didn’t enjoy the bee stings at all. They scared me. But then something strange happened. I became fascinated with bees. I learned all about what they do for me and our ecosystem. So then I thought, what if I make something that helps honeybees and uses my Great Granny Helen’s recipe? 

That’s how BeeSweet Lemonade was born. It comes from my Great Granny Helen’s flaxseed recipe and my new love for bees. So that’s why we sweeten it with local honey. And today my little idea continues to grow.”

A portion of the profits from every bottle sold go towards four different bee conservation and sustainability organisations.

#Texas #bees #kids #African American