Once a thriving species along the banks of the Arajuno River in the Amazon basin of Ecuador, the Yellow Spotted Turtle is now classified as endangered. While these hard-shelled creatures have few predators, their existence has been critically threatened by humans. The practice of fishing with dynamite (originally introduced by colonists and later adopted by local Kichwa), the over-harvesting of turtle eggs and meat, and the pollution of river waters have destroyed the Yellow Spotted Turtle’s habitat and depleted its population, putting the important native species at risk for extinction.
To address this critical situation, Andean Discovery has teamed up with biologist Bryan Windmiller, PhD, of Grassroots Wildlife Conservation in Concord, Massachusetts, and Tom Larson of Arajuno Foundation in Ecuador. This ongoing initiative works hand in hand with local Kichwa communities to restore the natural habitat and reverse Yellow Spotted Turtle depopulation. We conduct educational workshops, restore ideal turtle reproductive conditions through reforestation, monitor and study current turtle populations, and repopulate the Arajuno River with Yellow Spotted Turtles from a locally-operated turtle hatchery in a neighboring area of the Amazon.
Make a Difference
Join Andean Discovery and help bring the Yellow Spotted Turtle back to the Arajuno River. Travelers typically spend one day weighing, tagging, and introducing Yellow Spotted Turtles, and one to two days working alongside Kichwa community members to plant fortifying Giant Bamboo and Yutzo trees along the riverbanks. Lend a hand on this critically important ecological and environmental initiative and learn about the pressing issues facing the Amazon.