Thousands of baby turtles emerge from nests along Brazil-Bolivia border

Thousands of baby giant South American river turtles have hatched along sandbars in the largest aggregation of the reptiles in the world.Video, captured by WCS partner Ecovale, shows thousands of baby turtles emerging from their nests and waddle across the sand toward the river.An estimated 80,000 female turtles congregated on the beaches of Guaporé/Inténez River, along the border of Brazil and Bolivia, to dig nests and lay eggs, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).Giant South American river turtles reach up to 3.5 feet and 200 pounds.They are the largest species of freshwater turtle in Latin America.Camila Ferrara, aquatic turtle specialist for the WCS Brazil Program, said: “The annual nesting and hatching of the giant South American river turtle is one Earth’s great natural spectacles.“It is visually stunning, but also extremely important ecologically to the western Amazon ecosystem.”The turtles contribute to the food web of the river, and they disperse seeds that help regenerate vegetation, the organization said.German Forero-Medina, Scientific Director with WCS Colombia, added: “Safeguarding this population of giant South American river turtles takes a community approach.“WCS proudly works with local partners with a direct stake in ensuring that this species is part of their natural heritage.”Wildlife Conservation Society/SWNS