PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The endangered Western Pond Turtle has found an ally in the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The WDFW teamed up with others, such as the Oregon Zoo, to create a habitat to help preserve the turtles. The habitat, called the Turtle Haven Preserve, is owned by Friends of the Columbia Gorge.

Friends of the Columbia Gorge and WDFW are working together to restore the endangered species to Washington, hand-delivering the turtles to the water’s edge.

The turtles were raised at the Oregon Zoo and have had ideal conditions to grow. They’re just a year old but are the size of 2-year-olds.

The young turtles are being released on land in the Gorge that’s been cleared of many non-native predators. Wetlands loss has also hampered the turtles’ ability to survive.

The Western Pond Turtle’s cry for help has been a silent one — but the call is being answered by people devoted to the land and nature these animals live in.

The turtles were released into the habitat on Tuesday morning.

KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.