Protecting Latin America’s Largest Freshwater Turtle at the Bolivia-Brazil Border

The sandbanks of Guaporé/Itenéz River represent the most important nesting area for the Giant South American River Turtle, with the largest known population. Photo credit: Camila Ferrara/WCS.

Once counted in the millions across the tributaries of the Orinoco and Amazon, the Giant South American River Turtle population has been drastically reduced because of historical overharvest for oil, meat, and trade.

P. expansa is one of the most threatened species in the Amazon. Once counted in the millions across the tributaries of the Orinoco and Amazon, its populations have been drastically reduced because of historical overharvest for oil, meat, and trade.

During November and December, hundreds of thousands of hatchlings emerge free, searching for the river waters. Video: Camila Ferrara/WCS.

WCS is combining the efforts of its country programs in Bolivia and Brazil to develop a coordinated multi-national push to conserve this key population of the species.

In 1999, the NGO Ecovale started a conservation program to protect P. expansa nesting beaches of both countries in the region in coordination with the Versalles community, which also develops its own conservation activities for the species in Bolivia.

WCS is combining the efforts of its country programs in Bolivia and Brazil to develop a coordinated multi-national push to conserve this key population of the species. Photo credit: Camila Ferrara/WCS.

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Wildlife Conservation Society

Wildlife Conservation Society

WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.