STORY: The footage, taken by WCS’s conservation partner Ecovale, shows beaches swarming with baby turtles as they emerge from the sand and before they eventually disperse into the river.
The annual nesting and hatching of Latin America’s largest freshwater turtle species along sandbars in this region of the western Amazon Basin is considered the largest single aggregation of turtles on the planet.
"This is the most important place for the nesting of the giant South American river turtle in the world," said German Forero-Medina, Scientific Director with WCS Colombia.
An estimated 80,000 adult female turtles gather on these local nesting beaches, beginning in late September, to dig nests and lay eggs. The turtles began hatching in mid-December and continued into early January.
The Giant South American river turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in Latin America, reaching three-and-a-half feet (1.07 meters) and 200 pounds (90 kg).
The turtles play an important ecological role by dispersing seeds that eventually help regenerate vegetation along river corridors. In addition, they make a significant contribution of biomass to the food web of the river.