In recent years, with support from Yosemite Conservancy, scientists have started to bring endangered Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs back from the brink of extinction by moving them to predator-free lakes. This year, in addition to expanding those efforts, scientists began restoring the populations of two other native water-loving species: California red-legged frogs and Western pond turtles. Biologists introduced both species to the Valley and will care for some of their young in rearing facilities during the winter to give the animals the best possible chance of survival.
No matter your age, seeing a frog splashing in a pond or a turtle sunning on a rock can be a joyful experience that fosters a lifelong connection with the natural world. This project will make such encounters more common in Yosemite by restoring native amphibian and reptile species.
Just over a week ago, another group of adult western pond turtles was released in Yosemite Valley! With support from our donors, the park is working to establish a self-sustaining turtle population in the Valley, where this California Species of Special Concern hasn’t been seen since 1958.
Check out this video to see one of the turtles explore its new home (the device attached to its shell is a radio transmitter, which allows scientists to track the turtles and learn more about their preferred habitats).
Partnering with Yosemite National Park, Dr. Roland Knapp (University of California, Santa Barbara), California Department of Fish & Wildlife, Student Conservation Association, San Francisco Zoo, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Geological Survey.