‘We released them with the words ‘Go be happy,’ said biologist Lucia Reyes from Venezuela’s Caribbean coast
The world’s smallest river turtles were released into a tropical jungle in Peru on Friday to begin their quest for life on the open ocean – although no one quite knows how they will get there.
Thousands of baby river turtles were released in a remote corner of the Amazon rainforest in the Peruvian state of Loreto.
Indigenous tribesmen protected the hatchlings in rivers and streams for the past two years. The turtles have served as symbols of respect for the tribes in a part of Latin America where native groups are often deeply distrustful of outsiders.
The turtles will have to dive to depths of up to 150 metres to survive in the salt water environment.
The turtles had been born in the Peruvian Caribbean coastal province of Apurimac, where they hatched from nests, and were placed in a petting enclosure at the city of Iquitos before being released.
“We released them with the words ‘Go be happy,’ said biologist Lucia Reyes from Venezuela’s Caribbean coast, where most of the tens of thousands of red sea turtles that have been harvested for their meat, carapaces and skin over the past few decades have been transported.
“This way we are giving back this positive energy,” Reyes said at the ceremony that took place on an island in the Chubut river.