Oregon Zoo

Western Pond Turtles Released in the Wild

Just a decade ago, Washington's Western Pond Turtle population had shrunk to only about 150 individuals. Habitat destruction, pollution and disease all took their toll on the turtles but the invasive bullfrog proved to be their greatest enemy. Bullfrogs eat tiny turtle hatchlings and the dramatic increase in predation pushed the Western Pond Turtle to the brink. Luckily, the Oregon Zoo in partnership with other organizations created a head-start program, under which baby turtles are collected in the wild and raised in captivity until they are old enough to be released and fend for themselves. By raising them in warm light for eleven months, the turtle hatchlings skip hibernation and in that short time they actually grow the equivalent of three years in the wild!

Western pond turtle hatchling baby oregon zoo 1Photo credit: Michael Durham, courtesy of the Oregon Zoo

"I'm scared Sarge!" "We're all scared son" (Huge ZooBorns kudos to whoever can identify this quote without Googling it)Photo credit Brock Parker, courtesy of the Oregon Zoo

A Western Pond Turtle raised at the Oregon Zoo is released into the beautiful Washington wilderness. I'd like to be released there...

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Oregon Zoo's Newest: A Tiny Baby Duiker

One of the Oregon Zoo's newest and smallest four-legged babies recently made his debut. A 2-month-old red-flanked duiker is now on exhibit with his mother in the zoo's Africa Rain Forest area. Duikers are among the smallest of antelope species and generally weigh only 20 to 26 pounds when fully grown.


Photo credits: Carli Davidson / Oregon Zoo



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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.

Western pond turtle hatchling oregon zoo 4 rs

Western pond turtle hatchling oregon zoo 3 rs Western pond turtle hatchling oregon zoo 1 rs 

Preparing to storm the shores of the Columbia River Gorge

Western pond turtle hatchling oregon zoo 5 rs

Bon voyage!

Western pond turtle hatchling oregon zoo 6 rs 

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. 

Baby pygmy rabbit kits oregon zoo 1 

Baby pygmy rabbit kits oregon zoo 2

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.

Baby elephant calf samudra oregon zoo rs

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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.





There are a couple more blow the fold...

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