Written by Staff Writer at CNN
Known as the “nests of the clouds,” the Peruvian Amazon is also home to thousands of baby baby river turtles which hatch from natural nests in the wet forest.
The treasured hatchlings become “toros”, literally “children” but in this case a small number of them will grow up to form the reef turtles we know today. Many of these taroworms are transported to exclusive protected areas, usually with a helping hand from local communities. Now, a global nonprofit is helping thousands of surviving hatchlings to survive the long journey by delivering them to a natural lake located in the rainforest.
By having a wide “nature-to-table” approach, conservationists hope to help survival of the remaining spawning females at the 3,800 square kilometer Cantarell estuary, which feeds into the Amazon from the ocean.
Through a wide network of turtle researchers in the Cantarell area and at the Puerto de Carrejo lake, a small working boat run by Ecoversicences, a little known conservation nonprofit, completes the journey and releases the babies into the world.
Making a splash
Lava river turtles — generally known as “toros al ajo” in the Cantarell region — breed in the trampolines or “nests of the clouds” that provide a web-like support system for the hatchlings in tropical rainforests in Peru.
The spongy taro plants suck the eggs in, and then form many little nests at each other that nestling hatchlings can slip through to reach a sea turtle nursery in the Brazilian rainforest.
While the babies go through an incubation period of about a month, the bay of Carrejo the down river road from the lake holds a large and aging population of jumbo terra banded terra cotta turtles – a non native species with an insatiable appetite.