1M Amazon River Turtles Released to Help the Species' Population

One million Amazon River turtles were released along the border of Bolivia and Brazil to help bolster the endangered species’ population, according to Reuters.

Amazon River turtle numbers have been decreasing due to the climate crisis, hunting, and human-made infrastructure in the area. Baby turtles are in danger of drowning while they are in their nests, as flooding is being exacerbated during the rainy season by the construction of mega-dams in Brazil, as well as climate change. Hunting also puts the turtles at risk, as adults and eggs are eaten as a source of protein for the surrounding communities.

Since 2007, volunteers and researchers have worked together to try and protect the species. The community of Versalles in Bolivia, where the majority of the members identify with the Itonama Indigenous people, has been protecting 300 km of beaches where the turtles nest.

Camila Ferrara, a Wildlife Conservation Society ecologist, told Reuters: ‘Today in the Guapore or Itenez river, we have a binational project for the protection and conservation of the species, especially the Amazon River turtle. We work with turtles that have biological importance for the environment due to the recycling of nutrients and the dissemination of seeds. We have chosen this area because it is the largest spawning area for Amazonian turtles. About 100,000 females spawn in this area each year. We expect more than 10 million babies born this year.’