Article reprinted permission of Woodland Park Zoo
(Posted by Mark Myers, Curator)
Woodland Park Zoo was brought into the mix to perform a health assessment of the turtle to determine its potential to be released into protected wild habitat and join the breeding population of western pond turtles in Washington.
The zoo’s animal health staff gave the turtle a standard check-up last week, taking radiographs, doing blood draws, getting the animal’s weight, inserting a transponder, and examining the overall health and appearance of the turtle. The turtle is in good condition and has been approved for release into the wild population of western pond turtles that survive in protected habitat here in Washington state.
The addition of this turtle is potentially very meaningful to the survival of the western pond turtle in Washington, as this turtle could represent new genes that are not yet represented in the gene pool of the breeding population.
Every year, Woodland Park Zoo headstarts newly hatched western pond turtles at the zoo until the hatchlings grow large enough to avoid predation. This year’s batch of headstarted turtles were released to a protected habitat in South Puget Sound on Friday, and the Edmonds turtle will join them out there in the very near future, bringing with it a new hope for this endangered species.
Photos by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.