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These Tiny Turtles Were Declared Extinct, but a Hindu Temple Has Brought Them Back to Life

The black softshell turtle was declared extinct in the wild 17 years ago.



Tiny Turtles Extinct Hindu Temple
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(TMU) — The black softshell turtle was declared extinct in the wild about 17 years ago, but it may have a good chance at recovery after a centuries-old Hindu temple in India devoted its efforts to helping the tiny reptilian creature make a comeback.

Assam, once a paradise for freshwater turtles where the creatures were so abundant that it was a favorite local food, has seen its turtle population precipitously drop due to habitat loss and its over-exploitation as a source of food.

This caused the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to declare the black softshell turtle extinct in the wild in 2002, while also classifying the Indian softshell and the Indian peacock softshell turtles as vulnerable.

Yet this hasn’t stopped the nature-loving caretakers at the Hayagriva Madhav temple from providing sanctuary to the precious creatures in the temple’s ponds.

Residents at the temple are compelled to protect the species because of the sacred status accorded to them as a reincarnation of the Hindu deity Vishnu.

The temple’s religious adherents teamed up with the conservation group Good Earth to nurture dozens of turtles in the temple’s ponds. And now, the turtle’s population has rebounded from its possible demise to far healthier numbers.

There are plenty of turtles in the temple pond,” Jaya Purkayastha from Good Earth told the Times of India.

The conservationists have helped breed the turtles by collecting newly-laid eggs from the grounds near the pond and warming them in an incubator to ensure that they hatch.

Purkayastha said:

“The population of the turtle in Assam has gone down by a great extent. So we thought we needed to intervene and do something to save the species from extinction.”

The joint efforts showed a significant degree of success in January, when the group released 35 turtle hatchlings into the waters of a local wildlife sanctuary, 16 of which were black softshell turtles reared by hand at the temple.

Pranab Malakar, a caretaker of the pond, has long been devoted to the well-being of the turtle, largely for religious reasons. He explained:

“I used to take care of them as I like them. Later, after I became associated with Good Earth, it became my responsibility.

No one harms them here as they are incarnations of Lord Vishnu. I was born and grew up here. We have been seeing the turtles since or childhood. People respect them.”

Purkayastha told the Hindu:

“This is a milestone in Assam’s turtle conservation history, and it would not have been possible without the interest shown by the temple authorities in the artificial breeding program.”

Yet there still remain challenges ahead, including changes brought about by the immense popularity of the turtles, with hundreds of daily visitors who toss bread and other foods at the little reptiles, who eagerly gobble it up.

Purkayastha noted:

“This has triggered some biological changes among the turtles in the pond.

They have also lost their natural tendency of hunting for food.”

By any measure, so far the project has been a great success. Good Earth and the temple are now hoping to expand their breeding program to the 18 other temple ponds in the area that can be used to revive the still-endangered species.

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons |

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Scientists Catch a Glimpse of a Ultra-Rare Giant Phantom Jelly, With Bizarre Ribbon-Like Arms



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Researchers have seen a large deep-sea jellyfish with the assistance of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) named Doc Ricketts off the coast of California, in an extremely rare sighting. The footage revealed the creature’s unique and exquisite features.

The uncommon encounter was documented in November this year, 990 meters (3,200 ft) deep in Monterey Bay, according to a report issued by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI).

Youtube Screenshot

The enigmatic phantom jellyfish was initially discovered in 1899, but scientists did not recognize it as a distinct species until 1960. Scientists still know very little about this creature.

The specimen of the huge phantom jelly has only been seen 110 times in 110 years across the world. According to the MBARI research, despite thousands of dives, their ROVs have only observed this amazing species nine times.

The huge phantom jellyfish has the following characteristics:

The bell of this deep-sea denizen is more than one meter (3.3 feet) broad, with four ribbon-like oral (or mouth) arms that can grow to be more than 10 meters (33 feet) long, according to an MBARI report.

Youtube Screenshot

The species is said to inhabit anywhere between the surface and 21,900 feet in depth. It does, however, remain in the twilight zone, which is just beyond the reach of sunlight.

The organism, formally known as ‘Stygiomedusa gigantea’, is found all across the planet except in the Arctic Ocean, according to the experts.

Youtube Screenshot

It’s worth noting that, in the past, scientists depended on trawl-nets to examine deep-sea species; but, the jellies, which transform into a viscous goo in trawl nets, were difficult to research using this outdated method. Fish, crabs, and squids are among the only creatures that can be effectively studied from nets.

Researchers may now examine these creatures in their native habitat with high-definition footage thanks to the robot cams. I, personally, prefer this “no-touch” approach.

Watch the mesmerizing video here:

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Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida



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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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