Turtle cameraman: Moskvarium at VDNKh presents an unusual video

May 27, 2020

The Moskvarium Centre for Oceanography and Marine Biology at VDNKh released an unusual video for World Turtle Day marked on 23 May. The video was shot from the top of the shell of one of aquarium residents named Barbaris. The turtle had a small light camera attached for underwater filming, which did not harm the animal or hinder its movement. The video published on the Moskvarium YouTube channel and on its social media captures the underwater world of the main saltwater aquarium and shows a first-person journey.

“This is the first time we are showing a video filmed from the shell of our lovely Barbaris. This kind of filming helps the aquarium scientists to monitor the turtle’s motor activity, compare its daily biorhythms and watch how it interacts with other aquarium inhabitants. For example, subscribers will see how the turtle communicates with its neighbours: sand tiger sharks, giant moray eels and other fish,”said the head of the Moskvarium biological service Irina Meintser.

The female hawksbill, a rare sea turtle included in the Red List of Threatened Species, was handed over to Moskvarium in 2017 by one of Moscow pet stores. Due to improper conditions, the animal was weakened and weighed only 2.5 kg. The ichthyologists at the aquarium helped her put on weight and strengthen her immunity, and the visitors picked a name for her.

Photo: press service of the Moskvarium at VDNKH

Now Barbaris weighs 45 kg, with the length of its shell reaching 67 cm. The measurements are fully consistent with the turtle’s age – about eight years. She eats about 1.5 kg of feed per day. Her favourite treats are seaweed, squid, shrimp and fish.

Barbaris lives in the main marine aquarium with an area of ​​more than 360 square metres. There are more than 400 residents there including sand, zebra, black and white sharks, shark raysand guitarfish, as well as other fish, including the giant grouper and moray eel.

The turtle is friendly; she is happy to swim to meet the ichthyologists and divers, and also loves having her shell scratched. Visitors will be welcome to see to the animals in the main marine aquarium as soon as the Moskvarium reopens.

Photo: press service of the Moskvarium at VDNKH

The hawksbill is a type of sea turtle– the only representatives of the genus Eretmochelys. It has a heart-shaped carapace with a bright spotted pattern. Its body can reach 90 cm in length and 60 kg in weight. Their natural habitat extends from the north temperate zone (the region of Nova Scotia, Great Britain, the Black and Japan Seas) to the south temperate zone (southern Africa, Tasmania, New Zealand). In recent years, the world population of turtles has declined significantly due to a very long period of their maturation, as well as poaching and environmental pollution. The specialists at the Moskvarium Centre for Oceanography and Marine Biology are contributing to the conservation of sea turtles.

World Turtle Day is marked on 23 May. It was established in 2000 at the initiative of the American Tortoise Rescue. The purpose of the initiative is to raise awareness of the high mortality rate among turtles and tortoises due to their proximity to humans. In recent years, World Turtle Day has been marked not only by the regions where these animals are found, but also in many other countries around the world.

Photo: press service of the Moskvarium at VDNKH

Moskvarium has been temporarily closed over the coronavirus concerns; even so, customers can follow the life of its inhabitants without leaving their homes. In early April, the aquarium launched a free online programme, Encyclopedia of the Oceans. Moskvarium regularly posts videos where its workers introduce followers to the life and routines of the aquarium inhabitants, their diet, relationships with each other and more, on the Moskvarium YouTube channel and social media. More than 20 videos about aquatic inhabitants have been released so far. Announcements of new releases are regularly posted on the Moskvarium website.

Source: mos.ru

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