Yellow-spotted River Turtle TRACKS (Podocnemis unifilis) from female ashore to lay eggs.
CITES II VULNERABLE.
Orinoco River, 110 Km north of Puerto Ayacucho. Apure Province, VENEZUELA. South America.
L average 40cm, Wgt 9-12kg. Convex carapace widest at mid-point. Eggs oblong 11-32 per clutch. 50-70 days incubation. Herbacious plus carrion, molluscs, crustations & fish eggs.
HABITAT: Mostly in secondary tributaries of main rivers. Only to main rivers during nesting season when sand banks exposed.RANGE: Amazonia, Llanos & Orinoco of Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Guianas, Ecuador, Peru & Bolivia.
Project from Base Camp of the Protected area of the Giant River Turtle (& Podocnemis unifilis). (Refugio de Fauna Sylvestre, Zona de Protecion de Tortuga Arrau, RFSZPTA)
Ministery of Environment Camp which works in conjuction with the National Guard (Guardia Nacional) who help enforce wildlife laws and offer security to camp staff. From here the ministery co-ordinate with other local communities along the river to hand-rear turtles for the first year of their life and then release them. The ministery pays a salary to one person in each community that participates in the project as well as providing all food etc. The turtles are protected by law and there is also a ban on the use of fishing nets in the general area. During the egg laying season staff sleep on the nesting beaches to monitor the nests. All nests layed on low lying ground are dug up and relocated to an area not likely to flood. They are then surrounded by a net to catch all hatchlings who will then spend the first year of their life in captivity to increase their chances of survival. Biometric data is taken from any female they find that has layed eggs and is returning to the river.