In the wild, Western Pond Turtles hibernate after hatching and do not grow. They are easy prey for predators at this stage. The Head Start program at the Woodland Park Zoo provides a safe place for the turtle eggs to hatch, and a nurturing environment for them to grow. By the end of their first winter at the zoo, they are the size of two or three year old wild turtles. Each spring they are released back into the wild. In 1990 there were only about 150 Western Pond Turtles in Washington State; today, due to this program, there are more than 1,400.