More than 90 young western pond turtles have been released to protected ponds in Washington's Pierce and Mason counties and in the Columbia River Gorge.
The turtles released Friday by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and Woodland Park Zoo were collected from the wild as eggs and raised by the zoo. The zoo says the 10-month-old turtles are now a sturdy 2 ounces each and too big to fit easily into the mouths of bullfrogs.
The zoo says Washington state listed western pond turtles as an endangered species in 1993.
The collaborative effort to boost their numbers also involves the Oregon Zoo and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Scientists tracking the turtles via tiny radio transmitters estimate that 95 percent of those released in the gorge survive and nearly all of those released in Pierce and Mason counties have survived