Saving Endangered Turtles in the Pacific Northwest

May 24, 2011

Spring 2011 Turtle Project Update

We're having another busy spring here in Portland with 49 young turtles under care here at the Oregon Zoo. These turtles were hatched in monitored nests in the wild and brought to the Zoo as hatchlings last September.

Since last fall, the young turtles have been living in semi-aquatic tanks in the zoo's Conservation Center inside the Cascades Stream and Pond exhibit building.  They are kept at room temperature which stimulates them to eat throughout the year.  Favorite foods include herring (3x/week)  and three different kinds of worms (wax, meal and earth).  By the end of this summer, the turtles will have grown to the size of three-year old turtles in the wild - too large to be eaten by non-native predators that include large mouth bass and bullfrogs - and can safely be released back into the wild in ponds near the Columbia River.

Under the direction of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the goal of the Western Pond Turtle Recovery Program is to re-establish self-sustaining populations of western pond turtles in the Puget Sound and Columbia Gorge regions. The recovery objectives are to establish at least 5 populations of >200 pond turtles, composed of no more than 70% adults, which occupy habitat that is secure from development or major disturbance. It is also necessary that the populations show evidence of being sustained by natural recruitment of juveniles. The core pond turtle sites should be wetland complexes that may be less susceptible to catastrophes than sites of a single water body.

Thanks again to everyone for your help with this important conservation project. GlobalGivcing supporters DO make a difference and demonstrate progress on our stated mission: "to inspire our community to create a better future for wildlife."



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Project Leader

Heidi Wilcox

Corporate & Foundation Relations Manager
Portland, Oregon United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Saving Endangered Turtles in the Pacific Northwest