AZA SAFE Stories

Image of the logo SAFE Saving Animals From ExtinctionThe Association of Zoos & Aquariums, with its member aquariums and zoos and a variety of partners, are taking action to save species through AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction. SAFE combines the power of zoo and aquarium visitors with the resources and collective expertise of AZA members and partners, all focused on saving species. Our collective action will help save vulnerable wildlife species from extinction and protect them for future generations.

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Western Pond Turtles get a head start

On August 12, 2016, Woodland Park Zoo staff and ZooCorps teens joined biologists and representatives from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife at a protected recovery site to release 47 juvenile western pond turtles. The 47 turtles were collected from the wild as eggs and given a head start on life under the care of Woodland Park Zoo to improve their chance of survival in the wild. Once the turtles reach about 2 ounces—a suitable size to escape the mouths of invasive predatory bullfrogs—they are returned to the wild each summer and monitored by biologists.

In 1991, the project was established to help recover this endangered species, including initiating a head starting program. In 25 years, the “turtle team” has released >2,100 turtles—boosting the wild population from 150 turtles at two sites to >1,000 turtles at six sites. Woodland Park Zoo and Oregon Zoo have together invested more than $1 million in this long-term field conservation program.

For this upcoming head start season, 85 eggs were collected and delivered to Woodland Park Zoo, 72 of which are most likely fertile. To date, 55+ have hatched.

Enjoy this feature by Evening Magazine, a program that airs nightly Monday-Friday on Seattle’s top news station, KING 5.

And enjoy Woodland Park Zoo’s new video: https://youtu.be/AjCU0oXChG8

Posted by Rob Vernon at 5:09 PM

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