2011 has been another busy and successful year for Oregon Zoo's western pond turtle program and we thank you for your support!
As previously reported to you in August, Zoo staff and field biologists were joined by several teens from our Zoo Animal Presenters (ZAP) Team who helped release of nine more turtles into ponds located in the Columbia River Gorge. ZAP Team members are recruited in partnership with Portland-area youth service agency partners. ZAP teens are hired and trained to teach younger children and families about animals and conservation issues.
According to project leader David Shepherdson:
"It is one thing to learn about conservation efforts, but it makes a much bigger impact when you actually see a zoo-reared turtle released back into the wilds of the Columbia Gorge,"
How big of an impact, you might ask? Just checkout the ZAP Team thank you note (see attached) they sent to Dr. Shepherdson. This is the kind of public feedback that convinces us that we are making progress towards the Oregon Zoo mission: inspiring our community to create a better future for wildlife.
Meanwhile, back at the zoo, turtle keeper Michelle reports:
"We now have 49 turtles here at the zoo - 20 were caught in May as they were coming out for the spring. These guys were actually hatched about the same time as the ones we released in August but since they were not in the OZ Turtle Lab's 'eternal summer' they were too small to be released with the other hatchlings and would have been eaten by the bullfrogs had they been left in the Gorge. So we now have those 20 plus another 29 that hatched in last month and were brought in to the zoo by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists . Hopefully all 49 will make weight and be released in August 2012! Right now they are enjoying the plentiful food and warm basking lights of our conservation lab."
We invite you to continue your support for the coming year. And there's no better time to help us than this Tuesday, October 18th. GlobalGiving will add 30% to any turtle project donation (up to $1,000) beginning at 9:01 PM (Pacific Coast Time). a total of $100,00 is available and it will go fast, so set your clocks and log on to our project page before 9 on Tuesday night to make a Bonus Day gift.