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Nearly extinct Western Pond Turtles get boost from Woodland Park Zoo

SEATTLE -- The Woodland Park Zoo is showing off some new arrivals: 45 tiny turtles!

The Western Pond Turtles could once be found from Puget Sound all the way to Baja, California. But because of development, disease, and predators Washington had only about 150 left in 1990.

Since then, the zoo has been working with wildlife officials and others to turn that around. They've been raising the turtles from eggs and then releasing them into the wild the following summer.

"We know that we've gone from 150 turtles to over a thousand. So we're having a much better effect on that population through these efforts," Jennifer Pramuk with the Woodland Park Zoo said.

Because of predators, the hatchlings have only about a 10-percent chance of surviving in the wild.

So, the zoo bulks them up to the weight of a 3-year-old turtle to give them a better chance once they're freed.