Thousands of baby yellow-spotted river turtles released in Peru

Baby yellow-stone river turtles in Peru
Baby yellow-stone river turtles, Peru, November 4, 2021, photo: Alfredo Galarza/Reuters

Around 3,000 baby yellow-spotted river turtles were released in Peru on Thursday after hatching from eggs that were kept on artificial beaches as part of a conservation program.

The river turtles native to the Amazon rainforest are considered “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). For years, they have been killed for human consumption or kept as pets.

“The importance lies in the conservation of the species in the area because it has already been threatened for a long time,” Sabrina Pipa, a biologist, said. “The objective is the repopulation of the species.”

Pipa said the yellow-spotted river turtle project started in 2019 and so far, protected about 6,000 river turtles, in addition to those conserved this year.

The baby turtles were released in a river in the city of Iquitos. People watched as the animals made their way towards the water. “Go! Go be happy!” one onlooker chanted.

After Brazil, Peru has the second-largest share of the Amazon rainforest. Scientists agree that conserving the Amazon rainforest is vital to protect native animals.

But in the last twenty years, more than 19,700 square kilometers (7,600 square miles) of the Peruvian Amazon have been destroyed.

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