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May 10, 2007

ULM professor and grad student guide film crew; series anticipated to air on Animal Planet

ULM biology professor John Carr and graduate student Amity Bass recently guided a film crew from Bristol, England, on a tour of Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge. For the cameras, Carr and Bass shed light on one of the lake's top predators, the Alligator Snapping Turtle.

Icon Films crew documented the innovative research methods used by Carr and his students for a show on Discovery Channel's Animal Planet. The one-hour segment devoted to the Alligator Snapping Turtle is anticipated to appear on Animal Planet's "Nick Baker's Weird Creatures 2," a television series that features unique and unusual animals overlooked by most nature documentaries. Host Nick Baker accompanied the crew, which also filmed wading birds, snakes, frogs and the overall swamp environment.

Carr and his students are known for their extensive research on all aspects of the biology of the Alligator Snapping Turtle, which is considered a species of conservation concern.

One of his students, Bass, a West Monroe native who is working toward an M.S in biology, began researching turtles with Carr while she was an undergraduate at ULM. Guiding the film crew around Black Bayou Lake, which is located just north of Monroe, was enjoyable, she said.

"It was very interesting to know that people from other places are also concerned about the alligator snapping turtle ... Hopefully this program will promote further public interest in the conservation of Alligator Snapping Turtles," said Bass, who plans to work as a wildlife biologist after graduation.

Logistical support was provided by members of the Friends of Black Bayou, including Leslie Calhoun and the top three officers in the group, ULM faculty Ann Smith, Bob Eisenstadt and John Rettenmayer. Boating assistance was provided by Elby Bass and ULM senior biology major and West Monroe native Matt Pardue.

The new series of episodes is scheduled to air in the United Kingdom in January 2008; the series is anticipated to appear on television in the United States, and is due to appear internationally on Discovery’s Animal Planet channel.

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