One of the many wonderful facets of zoos are their captive breeding and reintroduction programs. All too often, a combination of loss of habitat and over harvesting cause the decline, and sometimes even inevitable extinction, of so many species in the wild, as occurred with the Western Pond Turtle.
Nestled in the rainy state of Washington in the Untied States, Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle has had many success stories, one of which is the Western Pond Turtle. Once found in the lowlands of Washington into Baja, California, this charismatic turtle species has been largely wiped out from a bulk of its range, with estimates at one point pinning it at a mere 150 individuals in the wilds of Washington by 1980. Today, thanks to a meticulous captive breeding and a successful, ongoing reintroduction program by the Woodland Park Zoo, there are now an estimated 800 wild individuals in the entire state's territory.