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Baby Western Pond Turtle in habitat

Apr 29, 2021

Baby Western Pond Turtle Discovered at Mountain Lake

Presidio ecologists discovered a baby Western pond turtle at Mountain Lake.


​​​​​In 2015, after the Presidio’s Remediation team made massive cleanup efforts at Mountain Lake, the Natural Resources team reintroduced native Western pond turtles (Emys marmorata) to the park.

Finally, we’ve seen evidence of success!

Recently, Presidio Wildlife Ecologist Jonathan Young and Biological Science Technician David Harelson discovered a baby Western pond turtle at the lake. “It’s the first confirmation that the reintroduced Western pond turtles have grown up and successfully reproduced, which is big news!” Jonathan shared. “We now have a new generation to sustain these rare turtles into the future. Proof of concept that urban nature restoration works!”

Our Natural Resources team continues to make big strides to increase biodiversity in the park by restoring habitat that enables native species to thrive. To date, they’ve reintroduced five native species at Mountain Lake: chorus frogs, Western pond turtles, three-spined stickleback fish, the San Francisco forktail damselfly, and the California floater mussel.

Many congratulations to Jonathan and David and the rest of the staff who are restoring the park’s ecosystem. And thank you to the San Francisco Zoo and Sonoma State University for their partnership in reintroducing the Western pond turtle into Mountain Lake. The San Francisco Zoo’s “headstart” program involves hatching and rearing turtles through their most vulnerable stages before releasing them into the wild.

Check out the Deep Look video from 2016 to learn more about these babies!

Call to Action

Should you happen to find a turtle that may have wandered away from the lake, call our wildlife hotline at (415) 561-4148​.