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Yellow-spotted River Turtle Conservation 

November, 2020 to Present

Supported by:

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In the past 2 decades, SRCS has received continual reports from local residents of the South Rupununi noticing a significant decline in the number of river turtles, including the Yellow-spotted River Turtle (Podonemis unifilis).

 

The two main causes that the residents have identified are:

 - harvesting of turtle eggs; and

 - overharvesting of adults, in particular female adults.

 

To resolve this, the SRCS have partnered with Sand Creek Village to monitor beaches along the Rupununi River to protect nests from these threats. 

Between 2021-2023, unseasonal early rainfall caused all the beaches along the Rupununi River to flood which would have resulted in the death of all turtle nests. However, the Sand Creek rangers were able to rescue over 2000 eggs from this flooding.

These eggs were released during Turtle Festivals in Sand Creek Village where young people from across the Rupununi came to learn about  turtles and wildlife before releasing the rescued turtles back into the wild.

In 2024, the turtles faced a different threat in the form of extremely dry conditions. This resulted in hatchlings being "baked" in their nest or being vulnerable to predators due to low river levels. In response, the SRCS rangers moved the hatchlings to deeper pools to reduce their vulnerability.

The SRCS will continue to work with Sand Creek Village to collect more information on the species and its threat as well as working with residents to create a sustainable management plan for turtles.

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