Oregon Zoo

Tiny Turtles Return Home

The endangered Western Pond Turtle faces threats from habitat degradation and disease, but the biggest threat to these little turtles are invasive bullfrogs that have thrived in the Columbia River Gorge between Oregon and Washington. These huge frogs gobble up tiny turtle hatchlings like Whitman's Samplers. By breeding Western Pond Turtles and raising them until they are large enough to be off the bullfrog's menu, the Oregon Zoo is helping to rebuild the turtle population.

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Preparing to storm the shores of the Columbia River Gorge

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Bon voyage!

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Home sweet home

Columbia river gorge
 
Photo credits: Brock Parker / Oregon Zoo

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Meet the World's Smallest Rabbit

Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbits are the world's smallest and among the rarest. Native only to a single area of Washington State, this once isolated population of Pygmy rabbits usually weighs less than a pound in adulthood and was declared extinct in the wild in the '90s, after the remaining 14 bunnies were scooped up and taken into the equivalent of bunny protective custody.

This year the Oregon Zoo welcomed 26 of the little guys, bringing this year's total to 73 baby bunnies (kits) among participating breeding facilities. Color is added to the ears in the pictures below so zoo staff can tell the kits apart. 

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Unlike most rabbits, the Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbit did not breed prodigously in captivity, partially due to inbreeding within the tiny wild population. As a result they were cross bred with Idaho Pygmy Rabbits and subsequent breeding efforts have been more successful. Learn more by clicking on "Continue reading..." below or at the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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Learning from a Baby Elephant

Staff at the Oregon Zoo have teamed up with conservation biologists at the University of Portland to study "baby" elephant Samudra, who was born around this time last year. The research is behavioral, tracking the growing boy's habits throughout the day and analyzing how those habits change over the course of his first year. The results will be shared with other zoos to help ensure successful births and rearing. Learn more below the fold.

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Oregon's Orphaned Cougar Baby

Last month, a cougar cub was discovered in Klamaath Falls, Oregon. Residing temporarily in the care of the Oregon Zoo, the cub is preparing for a move to his new home at The Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo.  Here, puma expert Michelle Schireman is seen yesterday, caring for the young cougar.

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There are a couple more blow the fold...

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