Advertising

The Seattle Times Company

NWjobs | NWautos | NWhomes | NWsource | Free Classifieds | seattletimes.com

Local News


Our network sites seattletimes.com | Advanced

Originally published May 24, 2009 at 10:42 AM | Page modified May 24, 2009 at 5:03 PM

Comments (0)     E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

Rare western pond turtle found in southwest WA

A rare western pond turtle of undetermined age has been found in Clark County in southwest Washington and turned over to Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo.

VANCOUVER, Wash. —

A rare western pond turtle of undetermined age has been found in Clark County in southwest Washington and turned over to Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo.

The Columbian says Clark College biology instructor Steven Clark turned over the male turtle over last week to a zoo veterinarian for possible use in a captive breeding program.

Clark said he has spent years surveying Clark County wetlands for amphibians, but never expected to see a western pond turtle.

"I've never seen one," he said. "Chances are, that turtle has been swimming around by himself for decades."

Dana Payne, animal curator at the zoo, said, "Over the last 20 years, we haven't come up with 20."

Payne suspects the Clark County turtle has been on its own, or part of a tiny population of adult turtles no longer capable of producing viable eggs.

"You could have a population that's functionally done, and those individuals could live for decades," he said.

Payne said the Clark County turtle will stay under quarantine for 30 days before state officials decide whether to release it to a protected pond or enroll it in the captive breeding program. He said it's hard to pinpoint the age of turtles.

"It's probably more than 10 and less than 50, but who knows?" he said.

The rare turtle was brought into a PetSmart store in Hazel Dell, Wash., by a woman customer from Battle Ground, Wash., who said she found him crossing a road. She wanted to know what to feed it. She brought the turtle back to the store because the turtle wasn't eating.

Store employee Aaronmichael Osborne, a biology student at Clark College, decided to take the turtle to Clark, who has studied turtles extensively.

Western pond turtles, which live 40 or 50 years, once numbered in the millions across the West Coast. But they're down now to an estimated 10,000.

advertising

Biologists say the turtles have dwindled because much of the low-lying habitat they prefer has been diked, drained and filled to make room for human development during the past century.

---

Information from: The Columbian, http://www.columbian.com

Copyright © The Seattle Times Company

More Local News headlines...

E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

Comments
No comments have been posted to this article.


Get home delivery today!

More Local News

UPDATE - 09:46 AM
Exxon Mobil wins ruling in Alaska oil spill case

NEW - 7:51 AM
Longview man says he was tortured with hot knife

Longview man says he was tortured with hot knife

Longview mill spills bleach into Columbia River

NEW - 8:00 AM
More extensive TSA searches in Sea-Tac Airport rattle some travelers

Advertising

Video

Marketplace

Advertising