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Turtle and Tortoise Study Coverage Goes Global

When research on aging from the Species360 Conservation Science Alliance and Southern Denmark University (SDU) was published in Science, many member institutions took the opportunity to highlight their role in contributing data essential to the findings. For example, see media coverage of Finland’s Korkeasaari Zoo. (Pictured above: Coverage of the study and the contribution of data by member institutions.)

From Costa Rica to Papua New Guinea, Species360 members have recently been featured in more than 120 news articles and social media posts – in regional, international and local news and via their own newsletters and blogs. The topic: the role of each institution in recording and sharing data used to study aging in turtle and tortoise species. These articles are the result of a press release reporting Species360 members’ part in research conducted by the Species360 Conservation Science Alliance and published in Science magazine.

As part of our commitment to conservation and animal welfare, our organisation records data on the animals in our collection to ensure our animals are well cared for and can contribute to species population management and conservation.

Brett Smith, General Manager, Life Sciences, Port Moresby Park, Papua New Guinea

It’s great to see how the information we recorded in the animal database ZIMS benefited the researchers this time. The database is an everyday tool for us at Korkeasaari, which is helpful both in the care of animals and in planning the transfer of species participating in conservation programs. For example, if an animal moves from us to another zoo, its background and health information are automatically visible to local nurses and veterinarians as well.

Nina Trontti, Animal Care and Protection Manager, Korkeasaari Zoo, Helsinki, Finnland

Below are examples of coverage of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s Edinburgh Zoo, Scotland, and Port Moresby Nature Park in Papua New Guinea. Click the following link to see more coverage with other members!

If your institution has not yet taken advantage of this opportunity to highlight your role in conservation research, we can resend the press materials to you. Please contact your Member Advocate by emailing Support@Species360.org and let them know you need the “press release on aging research.”

Species360 members have been sharing the news about their contributions to a recent study on turtle and tortoise aging. For assistance and press materials, email us at Support@Species360.org

Edinburgh Zoo contributes to turtle and tortoise study challenging evolutionary theories of aging

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) is a member of Species360, a non-profit organization which maintains the Zoological Information Management Systems (ZIMS) – the largest database on wildlife in human care.  

As part of our wildlife conservation charity’s commitment to conservation and animal welfare, we use ZIMS to keep detailed records of the animal collections at both of our sites, Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park. As a holder of Egyptian and pancake tortoises, Edinburgh Zoo has actively collected and shared data in ZIMS on these species which has directly contributed to a ground-breaking new study. 

Even though humans live longer lives compared to their historical counterparts, we cannot escape the inevitability of aging. However, testudines – the order to which tortoises and turtles belong – may buck this trend by following a different pattern of aging compared to humans and other species.  

In a new study published in the journal Science, researchers used data contributed by Edinburgh Zoo, in collaboration with other zoos and aquariums, to examine 52 species of turtles and tortoises. The data recorded by our charity in ZIMS enabled researchers to discover that, unlike humans and other species, turtles and tortoises defy common evolutionary theories and may reduce the rate of ageing in response to improvements in environmental conditions.  

Evolutionary theories of ageing predict all living organisms weaken and deteriorate with age (a process known as senescence) and eventually die. Now, using this data, researchers from the Species360 Conservation Science Alliance and the University of Southern Denmark show that certain animal species, such as turtles and tortoises, may exhibit slower or even absent senescence when all of their needs are being met.  

Out of 52 turtle and tortoise species, 75% show extremely slow senescence, while 80% have slower senescence than modern humans. 

As part of our charity’s conservation work, we record data on the species in our collection to ensure our animals are well cared for and can contribute to population management and in turn can inform conservation work.  

We are proud that the data we have collected and curated on the tortoises in our collection has contributed to this study and helped researchers better understand ageing in these species, which can be shared with institutions around the world. 

The results of research, using tools such as this, shows the important role modern zoos play in conservation, education and research.  

Together, we can help create a world where nature is protected, valued and loved. 


Nature park supports global turtle research

The National / Papua New Guinea / July 19, 2022

“THE Port Moresby Nature Park has supported the global research to protect turtles and tortoises. In a new study published in the journal Science, researchers used data contributed by the park in collaboration with other zoos and aquariums to examine 52 species of turtles and tortoises.


The park in a statement said the data it recorded in the Species360 zoological information management system (ZIMS) enabled researchers to discover that turtles and tortoises defied common evolutionary theories and might reduce the rate of aging in response to improvements in environmental conditions unlike humans and other species.


It said researchers from the Species360 Conservation Science Alliance and the University of Southern Denmark used data captured by the park to show that certain animal species, such as turtles and tortoises, might exhibit slower or even absent senescence when their living conditions improve.


“As part of our commitment to conservation and animal welfare, our organisation records data on the animals in our collection to ensure our animals are well cared for and can contribute to species population management and conservation,” park general manager of Life Sciences Brett Smith said.


“We are proud that the data we have collected and curated on the turtles in our collection has contributed to this study, and helped researchers better understand aging in these species.”


Port Moresby Nature Park is a member of Species360, a non-profit organisation which maintains the (ZIMS) – the largest database on wildlife in human care. As part of the park’s commitment to conservation and providing high standards of animal welfare, it uses ZIMS to keep detailed records of its animal collections.


And as a holder of turtles, the Nature Park has actively collected and shared data in ZIMS on this species which has directly contributed to this study. The park relied on grants and donor funding to operate.”

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