Monday, September 04, 2006

Turtle Tortilla’s birthday was celebrated in the Kharkiv zoo

Turtle Tortilla’s birthday was celebrated in the Kharkiv zoo. Children had the holiday with prizes and contests. But the serious problem stands behind the merry celebration, Zoo workers say. Tortilla is the collective image of the only specie of the turtles that lives in Ukraine – pond turtle. These amphibians belong to the Red Book of Europe. In Ukraine the pond turtles are critically endangered, zoologists explain.

People often take the animals from the natural environment – rivers and lakes – for joy, zoologists complain. Captive turtles often die. People may buy the pet in the Zoo shop where they can find the special specie – the slider turtle. They are better specialized for living in aqua terrarium.

But there’s another risk, the head of the educational department of the Zoo Tamara Saprytina says. People set the turtles free on playing enough with them. But there’s no way to do it because slider turtles are extremely voracious.

In their native North America the nature reestablishes quickly but in our country they literally terminate everything on their way. The natural balance is disrupted and Ukrainian pond turtles are left without food.

Tamara Saprykina, the head of the educational department of the Kharkiv Zoo: “This is a big problem if the slider turtles free. If they specialize to winter for some reasons, I mean a kind of mutation, they would terminate our turtles entirely. Now our turtles have the only trump – they can winter. And slider turtles can’t!”

Tamara Saprykina says that in Italy, for example, where the climate is milder the slider turtles superseded the pond turtles almost entirely. For prevent it in Ukraine, zoologists invented the educational celebration “Turtle Tortilla’s birthday”.

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