The original item was published from January 9, 2023 4:05 PM to January 9, 2023 4:07 PM
Have you ever heard of the endangered Western Pond Turtle? You probably haven’t unless you have spent a lot of time around Oregon and California’s ponds.
Believe it or not, this turtle was originally found all the way from Baja California to Canada. But most importantly, these turtles loved the wetlands here in the Puget Sound. There was even a population of our own living at our habitat restoration site, Deadman’s Pond (no other reason has been found to why it is called Deadman’s Pond, other than the fact that it’s close to a cemetery- but rest assured, it is a cool place). Several years ago, only one Western Pond Turtle was left there. That lonely guy was rehomed to the Woodland Park Zoo to participate in their turtle recovery program.
The combination of pond and terrestrial habitat at Deadman’s Pond is ideal for this semi-aquatic turtle. Unlike other turtles, these can live out of water for up to 6 months at a time. This means they need plenty of year-round hiding places such as shrubs and trees.
These Western Pond Turtles are one of the reasons why the Pierce Conservation District holds monthly work parties at Deadman’s Pond. Our work improves the habitat so our turtle friends can someday be reintroduced. We do know how much volunteer efforts can help a site. Every native tree planted, or invasive blackberry shrub removed is one step closer to bringing these turtles back. Be sure to stay updated on our upcoming events so you can join us!