Pacific Pond Turtle Recovery Meeting

Dr. Paul Gibbons, Managing Director of the Turtle Conservancy in California, was a presenter at the first AZA-SAFE Saving Animals From Extinction Workshop for the Pacific Pond Turtle at the Oakland Zoo March 17-18th. Over 50 field researchers, zoo biologists, and government wildlife managers from Washington State, Oregon, California, and Baja California in Mexico came together at this workshop to create the first range-wide conservation plan for the Pacific Pond Turtle, which was recently classified as two different species, Northern and Southern. There likely will be a third species, from Baja California, to be announced very soon. This is the only freshwater aquatic turtle species native to California and is listed by the State as a species of special concern. The Turtle Conservancy has been caring for a group of these turtles that was rescued from Lake Elizabeth in the Angeles National Forest as the lake water became inhospitable as a result of a recent wildfire and ensuing severe drought. We also hope to participate in a reintroduction program for the Los Angeles River that is in the early planning stages.