Assurance Colonies Grow in South Carolina

by Heather Lowe 

Amidst a flurry of construction and renovation that has been taking place at the Turtle Survival Center (TSC) this summer, animal care and husbandry has remained a top priority. The steadily growing collection at the TSC is now comprised of 421 animals, representing 32 species. A recent spate of hatchlings has been very exciting for everyone involved in the TSA, none more so than for the staff at the Center.

To date, seven individuals from five species have hatched in South Carolina: one Red-necked Pond Turtle (Mauremys nigricans), two Yellow-margined Box Turtles (Cuora flavomarginata), one Southeast Asian Box Turtle (Cuora amboinensis), two Beal’s Eyed Turtles (Sacalia bealei), and one Spiny Turtle (Heosemys spinosa). Cris Hagen, Director of Animal Management, is especially thrilled about the Spiny Turtle that hatched, as it comes from a group of turtles that he has raised since 2004. Though they have laid eggs in previous years, this was the first time that an egg from this group developed.

Aside from hatchlings, the collection has also grown by leaps and bound in recent months thanks to new arrivals at the Center, many of which were animals that were owned by the TSA, but had been out on loan to TSA members or zoos. Seeing these animals coming together to form assurance colonies is really exciting, as it embodies the vision of the TSC that the staff has been working toward for more than a year now.