Western Pond Turtle

"From the Ponds"

Vol. 1 No. 3, May 15, 1999.

Western Pond Turtle- Main Page

From the Ponds Main Page.


The Bimonthly Electronic Newsletter of the Western Pond Turtle Project in Washington State

By Kate Slavens


Vol. 1 No. 3
15 May 1999

IT'S BEEN A VERY BUSY SPRING. Since the last issue, there has been real progress in almost every aspect of the project. It is full-speed ahead in 1999 with only a few minor snags.

THE BUDGET is as good as it is going to get for this field season and all of the most crucial items are covered. We are grateful for all the generous contributions that have made this possible. Now it's time to start working on the year 2000. Grant proposals are winging their way to all parts of the country this spring.

THE FIELD SEASON began as planned on April 1 and has yielded the greatest number of captures yet. The 20 new traps have allowed us to do mark and recapture at both the Klickitat and Skamania County sites concurrently. To date, we have captured over 100 turtles (exact figures will be available by the July newsletter). Surprisingly, two previously unmarked females were caught and now have transmitters. Also, two recently emerged hatchlings were captured and taken to Woodland Park Zoo for head-starting. At least 50% of the captures were released head-starts being caught for the first time since release, the release dates going back to 1992. It is becoming evident that in the first two years after release, we are recapturing over 50% of the turtles and in the next 2-3 years can raise that to 75%. By continuing to recapture head-started turtles for the first time 7-8 years after release indicates a higher than 80% survival rate. Although we are running out of time, we are still hoping to recapture a female from the 1991 release because it would most probably be sexually mature and it is important to record successful nesting of the head-started turtles. As it is, 17 females now have new transmitters for 1999 and we should have a very successful season.

THE NOT SO LITTLE HEAD-STARTS from 1998 are growing very well. At least half will be ready for release by June 1, making more room for the others, which should be ready by some time in July. The time between July and October gives the keepers a little time off from their very grueling schedule of caring for over 100 little turtles. They do a remarkable job.

THE PUGET SOUND SURVEY is under way. Thirty volunteers have been trained and are out surveying about 40 sites for western pond turtles. I don't expect to hear too much until June or July, but we are very hopeful that at least a few will be discovered. It is possible that one has been sighted south of Olympia already and we are in the process of confirming that sighting. If it is a WPT, then we have the challenge of capturing it. I hope it likes sardines.

THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH & WILDLIFE has published the draft of the "Washington State Recovery Plan for the Western Pond Turtle". After public comment, it will be published in its final form and we will have it to guide us through the many years it will take to accomplish the goals. We should all live so long.

THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT at Woodland Park Zoo is currently working hard to develop teacher workshops that will "teach the teachers" about the western pond turtle so that they can bring that information to their classrooms for the students. These workshops will be begin in 2000. It takes time to plan and schedule such events and prepare all of the materials that will be needed.

THE "WANTED POSTER" is also coming along nicely. All of the photos have been chosen and have been scanned in. It has been decided to print this poster in the middle of a brochure about the project, thus making it something that can reach a larger audience. The poster is about done and looks very good. All that is left is to write the text that will accompany the photos of the project for the brochure and lay that out. My thanks to Steve Raymond, without whom we'd be in trouble. His artistic eye and knowledge of computer graphics programs is making this possible, that and grant money from the AZA Conservation Endowment Fund.

THAT WRAPS IT UP for this installment. By the time the July newsletter comes out, we should know how successful the field season has been and there should be lots of news.

Pond Turtle PageHerpetological Books for Sale Frank And Kate's Web Page Cameroon Art for SaleReptiles and Amphibians In Captivity
Index Go Top

Frank & Kate Slavens
P.O. Box 645
Lyle, WA 98635

To send Frank or Kate an e-mail, our addresses are: frank@pondturtle.com or kate@pondturtle.com

Pages first went up in October 1995.

Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998,1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 Frank Slavens

Cameroon Art for Sale