Oregon Zoo Foundation

The mission of the Oregon Zoo Foundation is to foster community pride and involvement in the Oregon Zoo and to secure financial support for zoo conservation, education and animal welfare programs. These programs advance the zoo's mission to inspire the community to respect animals and to take action on behalf of the natural world by creating engaging experiences and advancing the highest level of animal welfare, environmental literacy and conservation science.
Jun 18, 2012

June 2012 Turtle Update

Weight of a western pond turtle hatchling
Weight of a western pond turtle hatchling

Dear Friends,

This year our western pond turtle (WPT) Team has been very busy. Not only with raising turtles for release, but also
attending informational meetings and workshops.

As usual, we sent Oregon Zoo representatives to the annual WPT Meeting in Olympia, WA this spring. At this meeting we get updates on all of the populations of WPTs in WA State from the biologists that watch over them. In addition, turtle staff from Seattle's Woodland Park Zoological Gardens (WPZG) and Oregon Zoo gave presentations on our programs.

Earlier this year, we invited the WPT Team from WPZG down to Portland to check out our lab set up and discuss methods of head starting. We spent hours discussing differences in our husbandry practices such as lighting, diets, and temperature gradients. Last month, we ventured up to Seattle (for the first time in our many years on the project) to get a look at their set up. We talked about our written protocols, release parameters and veterinary issues. All in all, both teams really enjoyed sharing ideas and seeing new ways to do similar things.

On May 9th and 14th, field biologists brought us 17 tiny turtles from the Columbia Gorge. These individuals include some of the smallest we have received in years at 3.5 grams (about the combined weight of a penny & paper clip; see attached photo!). After a natural winter hiding in the mud of their ponds, these animals remained almost at their original hatch weights. Unlike their counter parts who spent the winter in the warm, food-filled zoo conservation lab!

In another new development, 2012 has seen a record early release of some of our fastest growing individuals. On June 6th, twenty of our largest hatchlings from September 2011 (some weighing in at 200grams... that's about 80 pennies!) were returned to their original ponds in the Gorge! So our head count in the conservation lab is now 45 hatchlings. More will be released as usual in late July, followed by freshly-hatched little ones coming in to the lab in early September!

Links:

Mar 6, 2012

New Turtle Video!

We wanted all of our "friends of turtles" to see a new project video produced by Oregon Zoo photographer Michael Durham and Zoo deputy conservation manager Dr. David Shepherdson.  The video highlights the restoration of western pond turtle populations in the Columbia River Gorge and acknowledges the support of our project partners that include YOU and GlobalGiving.

We hope you enjoy it and will consider renewing your support of this important conservation success story in 2012!

Links:

Dec 15, 2011

Turtle Release Summary (1999-2011)

WA State recognition of turtle recovery efforts
WA State recognition of turtle recovery efforts

Happy holidays from the Oregon Zoo!  We could think of no better way to celebrate the end of 2011 than sharing the attached report that summarizes the results of our western pond turtle head start and release project.

Since we started working with this imperiled species (Actinemys marmorata) in partnership with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and our colleagues at the Woodland Park Zoo back in 1999, zoo staff members have raised and released a total of 582 captive-reared turtles into their ancestral habitats throughout southern Washington State.  And we have another 49 youngsters growing for release during 2012.  Over the past 20-years, the wild populations of turtles has grown ten-fold - from 150 to more than 1,500.

For more information on this conservation success story in the making, visit: http://www.oregonzoo.org/Conservation/westernpondturtle.htm.

A copy of the State of Washington Governor Gregoire's official recognition of the 20th anniversary of this wildlife recovery effort also accompanies this report.  We'll put this on our wall right next to awards for our successes on behalf of Asian elephants, Humboldt penguins, California condors, pygmy rabbiits and for contributions to the art and science of animal enrichment.

We couldn't have had this success without the fiancial support of donors like you!  Thank you again for helping the Oregon Zoo to create a better future for wildlife and we look forward to your continued involvement.


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