Western Pond Turtle

"From the Ponds"

Vol. 3 No. 1 – 12 January 2001

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

FROM THE PONDS… The Bimonthly Electronic Newsletter of the Western Pond Turtle Project in Washington.


Vol. 3 No. 1 – 12 January 2001

Editor: Kate Slavens

IT WAS A BUSY YEAR. With four field sites now to help organize and monitor, it must mean we’re succeeding with some of our goals. We have now released 410 head-started turtles to the wild and from all accounts, they seem to be doing very well.

OUR SUCCESSES ALSO INCLUDE THE BUDGET. We received grants from the Woodland Park Zoological Society Conservation Education Fund, The Oregon Zoo Foundation, the AZA Conservation Education Fund / Disney, and also many private donations were received. We are also waiting for one more major grant that could keep us in the black for several more years. We should know soon.

TO SUM UP THE FIELD SEASON, we had a total of 188 captures, 33 males, 29 females and 126 juveniles. The 29 females all got transmitters, of which unfortunately, 15 failed, mostly before nesting was accomplished. The manufacturer acknowledged the problem and identified the malfunctioning part and will give us 32 replacement transmitters for the 2001 season. Despite the problems with the transmitters, we still were able to secure 19 nests, which produced 81 hatchling turtles. The most important nest was from a female head-started in 1990-91 and that nest produced 4 hatchlings from the 4 eggs laid. She got everything right.

INTERESTING DATA is coming from the 16 transmittered newly released juvenile turtles at the third site in the Gorge. They have all spent time on land already and are mostly hibernating on land too. We will be replacing those transmitters in the next couple of months and will be able to continue monitoring their movements through this new site to determine how well it suits their needs. It looked good to us but we are a lot taller and have a different perspective.

THANKS AGAIN TO ALL THE VOLUNTEERS. This project would never succeed without our volunteers. It was especially helpful to have six volunteers from the Oregon Zoo at the Skamania County site. I certainly hope they weren’t scared off by the presence of the black bears and will help out again in 2001 and beyond. By the way, our annual volunteer meeting will be held on Sunday, February 4 at our house, 6 pm. Please start looking at your calendars and pencil in some time for the project for the coming April through July season.

THE WESTERN POND TURTLE CONSERVATION STRATEGY document is progressing very nicely. Frank and I have been able to attend most of the meetings and can report that there are some very dedicated people working to make this a very useful guide. It has been an honor to work with them and to have a chance to discuss all the variables that occur throughout the range of the species. It is important to see the big picture rather than the limited scope of our own individual sites. When we see how adaptable the species can be, it only emphasizes the negative impact we as humans have had on these poor turtles.

TWO THINGS OF INTEREST are happening at Southwest Holding, the facility at Woodland Park Zoo that houses the turtles. First, from captive breeding, six hatchlings were produced in 2000. Second, the outdoor pond has been renovated with a new filter and heater to better handle the volume of water that the pond can hold. This should make it possible to finally put turtles outside at least for part of the year.

LASTLY, a promise. I promise to produce this newsletter on a more regular basis than last year. Expect the next installment in March.

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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

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