January 10, 2013
Greetings from Oregon Zoo's warm and bright Conservation Lab!
The group of 9-month old youngsters that WA game biologists delivered to us last spring is really getting big! You might remember that instead of collecting them right after hatching, field biologists allowed these hatchlings to spend their first winter as they naturally would - hiding in the mud and dirt in and around the ponds in the Columbia Gorge where they were hatched. When these young turtles began to emerge from their hiding places in early May, biologists collected them so that invasive bullfrogs and bass would not eat them.
These turtles were then brought to the safety of the Oregon Zoo Conservation Lab to grow. When they were caught these17 little guys were still about the same size as they were when they hatched (~5-10 grams), since they had not been eating during cold winter weather in the Gorge. If you stop by our Conservation Lab (inside our Cascade Stream and Pond exhibit building), you will see that these turtles have grown considerably! Many already reaching over 100 grams! They will definitely be ready to release this year!
In September of 2012 these 17 were joined by 21 freshly hatched turtles that were quite a bit smaller at 5-10 grams. This brought our winter count to 38. The size difference between some of the May and September babies is obvious, as the May babies had plenty of food available to them all summer here in the lab. However we now have some overlap in size between the two groups.
So we now have 38 hatchlings in our four turtle pools in the Conservation Lab. The ones you see in the upper tubs are the smaller, more recent hatchlings and the ones in the lower tubs are the big guys that were collected last spring.
Who knows? By next May we could have more late starters joining us again and all of our present ones should be ready to release in July or August!With your help, our turtle project continues to support the recovery of this imperiled species here in the Pacific Northwest and is a great example of how the Oregon Zoo is fulfilling our mission to inspire our community to create a better future for wildlife. If you come by the Lab to visit the turtles, please be sure to introduce yourself as a Global Giving fan of turtles!
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Corporate & Foundation Relations Manager