'My day taking care of the animals started really well when I was called over to the incubator.As it happened, a Vietnamese pond turtle (Mauremys annamensis) was starting to hatch from one of the eggs. The first turtle born at our breeding facility!
I left the animal to work itself out of the shell in peace throughout the day. As a healthy hatchling should, it needed no human support. That way I had all the time I needed to prepare an enclosure: a mouse cage was placed in one of the empty tanks, as
a whole tank for such a tiny animal seemed to me a little overdone.
When the animal had hatched completely, I could see that the yolk sac had been almost completely resorbed and the plastron was almost closed. Exactly as nature intended. The little turtle was immediately included in the weighing cycle and weighed in at a healthy 9.0 grams!
The pictures tell the story. The pieces of substrate that were still stuck to his plastron washed off once he started to swim around in his enclosure.'
Recently, Mary Vriens, Henk Zwartepoorte's partner and current chairman of the ReHerp Foundation, received the following letter:
At our TSA / TFTSG Symposium in Charleston this past week, our Behler Award Committee was honored to recognize the memory of Henk by presenting him with a posthumous Turtle Conservation Appreciation Award at the closing banquet in front of nearly 300 of his peers and colleagues.
Henk was a good friend, a trusted colleague, and an active and valued participant in many of our turtle community's endeavors and organizations. We miss him greatly, as we know you do too.
His award has been entered on our Behler Award website at http://www.iucn-tftsg.org/behler/ (scroll to the bottom and then click through to the next page at http://www.iucn-tftsg.org/appreciation-and-lifetime-achievement-awards/). We hope you like the photo.
Attached is a pdf of the award certificate. We also have a nicely framed version (glass and wood) of the certificate that Peter Paul van Dijk will be bringing to you the next time he visits the Netherlands.
Anders G.J. Rhodin, M.D.
Chairman of the Board, Turtle Conservancy
Chairman Emeritus, IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group
Co-Chair, Turtle Conservation Fund
Founder and Director, Chelonian Research Foundation
Mary is sure Henk would have greatly appreciated this.
Some week ago, on his daily round, Nick discovered eggs laid in the land compartment of the housing of the adult couple Vietnamese pond turtle, Mauremys annamensis. The first major achievement of the ReHerp project was there. Since the eggs were buried on the very bottom of the compartment some 20 cm in depth, they might have escaped earlier attention. Eight good looking eggs could be retrieved. In some of these embryonic discs were already visible giving support to the idea that the eggs might have been deposited some days prior to discovery. Since temperature and humidity in the housing are completely in the safe range no complications are to be expected.
Since our incubator, a donation of the Medical Instrumental Department (MID) of the Langeland
Hospital, was not yet completely fine-tuned at that time, the eggs were temporarily placed in the incubator of Serpo, partially buried in vermiculite at a temperature of 29 °C. A couple of days later our own incubator was up and running so that the eggs
could be transferred to it.
We were not able to find any suitable data on this species in literature as to the details of breeding of the eggs. Therefore we rely on the data of related species and anticipate an incubation time of 70 – 90 days. We don’t know what sex ratio we can expect. Higher incubation temperatures usually lead to more females than males but the break-even point for this species is not known to us. In addition related species sometimes produce additional clutches in some two weeks intervals. We therefore keep our eyes open and regularly check the housing. The parents are fully active in every aspect. We wait and see.
All the Chinese crocodile lizards have eaten well today. One of them ate the worm(s) more easily than others. Some ate them from the ground, others worms held by tweezers (patience required!), and others from a floating container. Two have eaten crickets. They didn’t really hunt the guppies in the water.
The Egyptian Kleinmann's tortoises received a meadow-bouquet today, consisting of the leaves and flowers of dandelion, rapeseed, purple dead nettle, plus leaves of narrow leaved plantain.
Some of them were given leftover endive and Chinese cabbage. Looks like everyone joined in and it tasted good.
The adult females did not gain weight, but didn’t loose weight either. So it seesaws on. No eggs, that's obvious. Further, things stay the same.
The Chinese Crocodile Lizards (Shinisaurus crocodilurus) in the ReHerp collection are gradually awakening from their winter rest. One after the other they are becoming active and exploring their newly furnished housings. The additional shady areas we created apparently stimulate the animals. Some of them already take food, wax moth larvae or earthworms are the preferred items. Generally the lizards seem to have overcome the winter period well. It surely is a pleasure to see the animals displaying their natural habits.