Woodland Park Zoo releases grown turtles into the wild

Here’s a daily dose of “aww” for you.

These endangered Western pond turtles here are not only tortoisely adorable, but good for the environment with all the bugs they eat. (Before you say anything, we know tortoises and turtles are different — let us have our pun.) In fact, they’re part of the Woodland Park Zoo’s Western Pond Turtle Recovery Project’s 2022 cohort.

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The turtles must be at least two ounces to be released. | Photo by Jeremy Dwyer

Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren | Woodland

At the start of every summer, turtle eggs are collected from nearby nests and brought to the Woodland Park Zoo for some good ol’ TLC. The eggs incubate for about two to three months and then cared for by zoo staff for the next year.

The group of swimmy, little creatures then get released back into the wild the following August which just happened for this year’s “graduating” class. They’ll now be monitored by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as they help balance the ecosystem.

Fun fact: They are one of only two turtle species native to Washington.