These baby turtles confiscated from wildlife traffickers are now safe in their new home at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium.
The young Wood, Blanding’s, and Loggerhead Musk Turtles are part of a shipment of more than 200 hatchlings intercepted by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS). The Turtles were bound for export to China, where they would feed the demand for turtle meat, exotic pets, and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Thousands of turtles and tortoises are sold illegally every day in markets throughout China and Southeast Asia. The International Union for Conservation of Nature, or IUCN, states that up to 50 percent of Asian Turtle species are now Endangered, and that number is rising. In fact, tortoises and freshwater turtles are the most threatened of any major group of terrestrial (land-dwelling) vertebrates – more than mammals, birds, or amphibians.
While there’s no shortage of weird and wacky ideas in science fiction about what creatures from other planets might look like, few are quite as remarkable as those that can actually be found right here on Earth.
Recently, a team from the Nautilus Live expedition piloting a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) happened upon one of the most fascinating-looking lifeforms in the world — this rare, purple siphonophore roving through the ocean’s depths. Even the experienced deep sea explorers, well-acquainted with the marine animals, had a hard time accepting that what they were seeing was really real.
Amazingly, although this appears to be a single jellyfish-like animal, it is in fact a roving colony made up of thousands of individual organisms, called zooids, each contributing to the whole. But more than just its otherworldly shape, this specimen’s purple coloring is said to be rather unusual as well.
Deep Sea News writer R.R. Helm calls it a “shocking shade”, remarking that this footage truly stands out:
“To me, the best part of science is stuff like this: seeing something that completely takes my breath away. Even after studying animals like this for the last five years, this video has me in awe. The animal captured in this footage, simply put, is stunning.”