The western pond turtle (Actinemys marmorata) is a species of conservation concern over much of its range and is listed as endangered in Washington State. From 2000 to 2004, we used radiotelemetry to document survival and mortality factors of head-started western pond turtles (n = 68) released into Pierce National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Washington. Survival estimates for first year and older turtles ranged from 86% to 97% and overlapping confidence intervals indicated no detectible differences among age classes or among years. Subadult turtles released at ≥90-mm carapace length apparently avoided capture by most aquatic predators, indicating that terrestrial predators should be the focus of research and management where predation on larger age-classes is a concern. High annual survival combined with the documented nesting by ≥7-year-old female head-started turtles in Washington suggest that recruitment of adults is being achieved; however, head-starting is only practical as an interim solution and strategies for effective removal of aquatic predators must be developed and implemented where natural recruitment is inadequate to maintain populations.
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Vol. 73 • No. 8