Zoo News: Endangered turtles are released to the wild
information from Woodland Park Zoo
Congratulations to this year’s class of 24 western pond turtles (Actinemys marmorata) that graduated from a head start program at Woodland Park Zoo. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the zoo released the 2020 graduates to the wild at a local protected site.
The heroes in a half shell are a part of the collaborative Western Pond Turtle Recovery Project, a head start program initiated in 1991. Washington state listed the western pond turtle as endangered in 1993. It is the state’s longest-running species reintroduction project.
Each spring, WDFW biologists go in the field to attach transmitters to adult female western pond turtles and monitor them every few hours during the nesting season to locate nesting sites; the nests are protected from predators with wire exclosure cages. A portion of the eggs are collected in late summer and the hatchlings are given a head start on life under the care of Woodland Park Zoo and Oregon Zoo where they can grow in safety. The head start improves their chance of survival in the wild.
This is fantastic! We all need every little bit of joy we can find these days.