In a new study published in the journal Science, researchers used data contributed by Port Moresby Nature Park in collaboration with other zoos and aquariums to examine 52 species of turtles and tortoises.
The data recorded by Port Moresby Nature Park in the Species360 Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS) enabled researchers to discover that, unlike humans and other species, turtles and tortoises defy common evolutionary theories and may reduce the rate of aging in response to improvements in environmental conditions.
Evolutionary theories of aging predict that all living organisms weaken and deteriorate with age (a process known as senescence) – and eventually die. Now, using data captured by Port Moresby Nature Park and others, 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 their living conditions improve.
“As part of our commitment to conservation and animal welfare, our organization 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. 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,” said Brett Smith, Nature Park’s, General Manager of Life Sciences.
Port Moresby Nature Park 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 Port Moresby Nature 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.
Port Moresby Nature Park is a charity organization that relies on grants and donor funding to operate. By visiting the park and joining our Membership program, you help support the Park’s efforts in preserving PNG’s unique natural environment for future generations, including the Park’s 550 resident animals, majority of which have been surrendered to the Park for care.