Peru is home to thousands of species that are unique, and as the country is extremely diverse, the flora and fauna of Peru reflect this diversity. Unfortunately, many of these species are endangered due to human activities, global warming, and sheer evolutionary effects. The yellow-spotted Amazon River turtles are one of those species that are considered to be endangered. They are also quite vulnerable to changes that we are experiencing as a planet.
These turtles are known as Taricaya locally, and the Peruvian government has been actively working toward protecting this species. The Yellow-spotted Amazon River turtles are also known by their biological name ‘Podocnemis unifilis’. The Taricaya turtles have a life expectancy of almost 70 years, and adult female turtles weigh around 6 pounds and measure 27 inches in length.
These turtles feed on fish, fruits, water plants, weeds and also small insects. They are known for their beauty and unique patterned shell, which some believe brings them good luck. These turtles were exploited by the American pet industry during the 1960s, causing their numbers to decline.
Who is responsible for these turtles?
Peru’s National Service of Protected Natural Areas by the State (SERNANP) is responsible for the conservation efforts, and the organization is responsible for collecting eggs and caring for them in makeshift habitats. These turtles take 70 days to hatch and the organization cares for them during this incubation period. The caretakers release baby turtles back into the wild once they hatch.
By mid-November, the government will release more than 500,000 baby Taricaya turtles back into the wild, a sign that conservation efforts are finally paying off. The process of releasing the turtles back into the wild has already begun, and thousands of them have already been released into Peru’s Amazon River Basin.
The conservation project is expected to continue for many more years, and authorities are actively seeking the help of locals to release the turtles back into the wild. These beautiful turtles are a symbol of the Amazon Basin, and Peruvian conservation efforts are being lauded internationally by ecologists, biologists and activists. Thankfully, this is one of the happier stories to come out of organizations that work for endangered species. Many other efforts lack the funding and support that is required to sustain them.