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Giant River Turtle returns to river, Playita Beach, Orinoco River, Venezuela

Item # 2370245

Pete Oxford

<p>Work as a wildlife photographer means dirt, long hours and sometimes dangerous situations. The reward for such commitment can be seen in Pete Oxford's photographs. Driven by a passion for all things wild, he hopes the attention drawn by his beautiful imagery helps to preserve his wild subjects along with their often endangered habitats.</p>

<p>Giant River Turtle (Podocnemis expansa) after laying eggs and ID marked returns to river. Playita Beach, (mid) Orinoco River, 110 Km north of Puerto Ayacucho. Apure Province, Venezuela, South America. L average 90cm, Wgt 30-45kg. Largest fresh water river turtle in South America. Eggs round and 42mm. 90-100 per clutch. 6-8 weeks incubation. This female measured: 69cm curved carapace length and weighed: 31kg and layed 121 eggs. Females come ashore to sun themselves for several days before laying to boost egg development. They lay when the river is at its lowest. Herbaceous and live in white or black water rivers moving into flooded forests of the Amazon during the wet season to feed on fallen seeds and fruit. Ranges from Amazonia, Llanos and Orinoco of Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Guianas, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. Project from Base Camp of the Protected area of the Giant River Turtle (and Podocnemis unifilis). (Refugio de Fauna Silvestre, Zona Protectora de Tortuga Arrau, RFSZPTA). Min. of Environment Camp which works in conjunction with the National Guard (Guardia Nacional) who help enforce wildlife laws and offer security to camp. From here the ministry co-ordinate with other local communities along the river to hand-rear turtles for the first year of their life and then release them. They pay a salary to a person in each community that participates in the project as well as providing all food etc. The turtles are protected by law and there is a ban on the use of fishing nets in the general area. During egg laying season staff sleep on the nesting beaches to monitor the nests. All nests laid on low lying ground are relocated to an area not likely to flood. They are then surrounded by a net to catch all hatchlings who will then spend the first year of their life in captivity to increase their chances of survival.</p>

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Pete Oxford Photography Venezuela Turtle Reptile