Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

On the future of the giant South American river turtle Podocnemis expansa

  • German Forero-Medina (a1), Camila R. Ferrara (a2), Richard C. Vogt (a3), Camila K. Fagundes (a2), Rafael Antônio M. Balestra (a4), Paulo C. M. Andrade (a5), Roberto Lacava (a6), Rafael Bernhard (a7), Alison J. Lipman (a8), Ana Julia Lenz (a9), Arnaldo Ferrer (a10), Arsenio Calle (a11), Andres F. Aponte (a12), Bayron R. Calle-Rendón (a13), Cássia Santos Camilo (a7), Elis Perrone (a14), Esteban Miraña (a13), Fabio A. G. Cunha (a3), Eva Loja (a15), Jennifer Del Rio (a16), Jorge Luiz Vera Fernandez (a17), Omar E. Hermández (a18), Rafael Del Aguila (a19), Rafael Pino (a20), Ruben Cueva (a21), Sindy Martinez (a22), Virgínia Campos Diniz Bernardes (a3), Lila Sainz (a23) and Brian D. Horne (a24)...

Abstract

There is a long history of exploitation of the South American river turtle Podocnemis expansa. Conservation efforts for this species started in the 1960s but best practices were not established, and population trends and the number of nesting females protected remained unknown. In 2014 we formed a working group to discuss conservation strategies and to compile population data across the species’ range. We analysed the spatial pattern of its abundance in relation to human and natural factors using multiple regression analyses. We found that > 85 conservation programmes are protecting 147,000 nesting females, primarily in Brazil. The top six sites harbour > 100,000 females and should be prioritized for conservation action. Abundance declines with latitude and we found no evidence of human pressure on current turtle abundance patterns. It is presently not possible to estimate the global population trend because the species is not monitored continuously across the Amazon basin. The number of females is increasing at some localities and decreasing at others. However, the current size of the protected population is well below the historical population size estimated from past levels of human consumption, which demonstrates the need for concerted global conservation action. The data and management recommendations compiled here provide the basis for a regional monitoring programme among South American countries.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      On the future of the giant South American river turtle Podocnemis expansa
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      On the future of the giant South American river turtle Podocnemis expansa
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      On the future of the giant South American river turtle Podocnemis expansa
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

(Corresponding author) E-mail gforero@wcs.org

Footnotes

Hide All
*

Also at: University of Florida, Gainesville, USA

Also at: Asociación PANI, Rio Caquetá, Colombia

Supplementary material for this article is available at https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605318001370

Footnotes

References

Hide All
Andrade, P.C.M. (2015) Manejo Comunitário de Quelônios (Família Podocnemididae—Podocnemis unifilis, P. sextuberculata, P. expansa, P. erythrocephala) no Médio Rio Amazonas e Juruá. PhD thesis, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, Manaus, Brazil.
Bates, H.W. (1892) The Naturalist on the River Amazon. John Murray, London, UK.
Boede, E.O. & Hernández, O. (2004) Diseases in Arrau sideneck turtles, Podocnemis expansa, kept in Venezuelan farms. Revista Científica, 14, 395403.
Burke, R.L. (2015) Head-starting turtles: learning from experience. Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 10 (Symposium), 299308.
Castello, L., McGrath, D.G., Hess, L.L., Coe, M.T., Lefebvre, P.A., Petry, P. et al. (2013) The vulnerability of Amazon freshwater ecosystems. Conservation Letters, 6, 217229.
Conway-Gómez, K. (2007) Effects of human settlements on abundance of Podocnemis unifilis and P. expansa turtles in northeastern Bolivia. Chelonian Conservation and Biology, 6, 199205.
Ferrara, C.R., Vogt, R.C. & Sousa-Lima, R.S. (2013) Turtle vocalizations as the first evidence of posthatching parental care in chelonians. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 127, 24–32.
Hernandez, O. & Espin, R. (2006) Efectos del reforzamiento sobre la población de tortuga arrau (Podocnemis expansa) en el Orinoco medio, Venezuela. Interciencia, 31, 424430.
Humboldt, A.V. (1820) Voyages aux Régions Équinoxiales du Nouveau Continent Fait en 1799–1804 par A. Humboldt et A. Bonpland. Tomo VI. Chez N. Maze, Paris, France.
IBAMA—Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis (2016) Manejo Conservacionista e Monitoramento Populacional de Quelônios Amazônicos. IBAMA, Brasília, Brazil.
IBGE—Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (2010) Populações (dados vetoriais). http://www.ibge.gov.br [accessed 15 October 2017].
Jaffé, R., Penaloza, C. & Barreto, G.R. (2008) Monitoring an Endangered freshwater turtle management program: effects of nest relocation on growth and locomotive performance of the giant South American turtle (Podocnemis expansa, Podocnemididae). Chelonian Conservation and Biology, 7, 213222.
Klemens, M.W. (2000) Turtle Conservation. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.
Klemens, M.W. & Thorbjarnarson, J.B. (1995) Reptiles as a food resource. Biodiversity and Conservation, 4, 281298.
Lipman, A. (2008) An ecological approach to community-based conservation: management of Podocnemis river turtles in Noel Kempff Mercado National Park, Bolivia. PhD thesis, University of Georgia, Athens, USA.
Lovich, J.E., Ennen, J.R., Agha, M. & Gibbons, J.W. (2018) Where have all the turtles gone, and why does it matter? Bioscience, 28, 771781.
Marcoy, P. (1873) A Journey across South America, from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. Volume 2. Tumbuya. Sarayacu. Tierra Blanca. Nauta. Tabatinga. Santa Maria de Belen . [Translated from French by E. Rich] Blackie & Son, London, UK.
MINAMB—Ministerio de Medio Ambiente (2002) Reportes Sobre Biología y Manejo de la Podocnemis expansa entre los Años 1990 y 2002. Ministerio del Poder Popular para el Ambiente, Caracas, Venezuela.
Moll, D. & Moll, E.O. (2004) The Ecology, Exploitation, and Conservation of River Turtles. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.
Mogollones, S.C., Rodriguez, D.J., Hernandez, O. & Barreto, G.R. (2010) A demographic study of the Arrau Turtle (Podocnemis expansa) in the Middle Orinoco River, Venezuela. Chelonian Conservation Biology, 9, 7989.
Ojasti, J. (1967) Consideraciones sobre la ecologia y conservación de la tortuga Podocnemis expansa (Chelonia, Pelomedusidae). Atas Simposio Sobre Biota Amazônica, 7, 201206.
Páez, V.P., Bock, B.C., Espinal-García, P.A., Rendón-Valencia, B.H., Alzate-Estrada, D., Cartagena-Otálvaro, V.M. & Heppell, S.S. (2015) Life history and demographic characteristics of the Magdalena River Turtle (Podocnemis lewyana): implications for management. Copeia, 103, 10581074.
Pantoja-Lima, J., Aride, P.H.R., de Oliveira, A.T., Félix-Silva, D., Pezzuti, J.C.B. & Rebêlo, G.H. (2014) Chain of commercialization of Podocnemis spp. turtles (Testudines: Podocnemididae) in the Purus River, Amazon Basin, Brazil: current status and perspectives. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, 10:8.
Peñaloza, C.L., Hernández, O., Espín, R., Crowder, L.B. & Barreto, G.R. (2013) Harvest of Endangered sideneck river turtles (Podocnemis spp.) in the Middle Orinoco, Venezuela. Copeia, 2013, 111120.
Peres, C.A. (2000) Effects of subsistence hunting on vertebrate community structure in Amazonian forests. Conservation Biology, 14, 240253.
Pezzuti, J.C.B., Teixeira, A.S., Silva, D.F., Lima, J.P., Kemenes, A., Garcia, M. et al. (2008) Ecologia de quelônios pelomedusideos na reserva biológica do abufari. In Criação E Manejo de Quelônios no Amazonas (ed. Andrade, P.C.M.), pp. 127173. Pró Várzea/FAPEAM/SDS, Manaus, Brazil.
Pezzuti, J.C.B., Vidal, M.D. & Felix-Silva, D. (2016) Impactos da construção de usinas hidrelétricas sobre quelônios aquáticos amazônicos: um olhar sobre o complexo hidrelétrico do Tapajós. In Ocekadi Hidroelétricas, Conflitos Socioambientais e Resistência na Bacia do Tapajós (eds Alarcon, D.F., Millican, B. & Torres, M.), pp. 455478. Câmara Brasileira do Livro. São Paulo, Brazil.
Portelinha, T.C., Malvasio, A., Piña, C.I. & Bertoluci, J. (2014) Population structure of Podocnemis expansa (Testudines: Podocnemididae) in Southern Brazilian Amazon. Copeia, 2014, 707716.
Remor de Souza, R. & Vogt, R.C. (1994) Incubation temperature influences sex and hatchling size in the neotropical turtle Podocnemis unifilis. Journal of Herpetology, 28, 453464.
Seigel, R.A. & Dodd, C.K. Jr (2000) Manipulation of turtle populations for conservation: halfway technologies or viable options? In Turtle Conservation (ed. Klemens, M.W.), pp. 218238. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.
Smith, N.J. (1974) Destructive exploitation of the South American river turtle. Yearbook of the Pacific Coast Geographers, 36, 85102.
Smith, N.J.H. (1979) Aquatic turtles of Amazonia: An endangered resource. Biological Conservation, 16, 165176.
Snyder, N.F.R., Derrickson, S.R., Beissinger, S.R., Wiley, J.W., Smith, T.B., Toone, W.D. & Miller, B. (1996) Limitations of captive breeding in endangered species recovery. Conservation Biology, 10, 338348.
Tortoise & Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group (1996) Podocnemis expansa (errata version published in 2016). In The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 1996: e.T17822A97397263. https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/17822/97397263 [accessed 31 October 2018].
Turtle Taxonomy Working Group (Rhodin, A.G.J., Iverson, J.B., Bour, R., Fritz, U., Georges, A., Shaffer, H.B. & van Dijk, P.P.) (2017) Turtles of the world: annotated checklist and atlas of taxonomy, synonymy, distribution, and conservation status. In Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: a Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. 8th edition. Chelonian Research Monographs, Volume 7 (eds Rhodin, A.G.J., Iverson, J.B., P.P. van Dijk, Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., Pritchard, P.H.C., and Mittermeier, R.A.), pp. 1292. Chelonian Research Foundation, Lunenburg, USA and Turtle Conservancy, New York, USA.
Valenzuela, N. & Ceballos, C.P. (2012) Evolución y mecanismos de determinación sexual en tortugas. In V. Biología y Conservación de las Tortugas Continentales de Colombia. Serie Editorial Recursos Hidrobiológicos y Pesqueros Continentales de Colombia (eds Páez, V.P., Morales-Betancourt, M.A., Lasso, C.A., Castaño-Mora, O.V. & Bock, B.C.), pp. 115123. Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt, Bogotá, Colombia.
Vogt, R.C. (2008) Amazon Turtles. Wust Ediciones, Bíblios, Lima, Peru.
WorldPop (2010) WorldPop v .1.0. https://www.worldpop.org/geodata/listing?id=17 [accessed 3 October 2018].
Zwink, W. & Young, P.S. (1990) Desova e eclosão de Podocnemis expansa (Schweigger, 1812) (Chelonia: Pelomedusidae) no Rio Trombetas, Pará, Brasil. Forest, 90, 3435.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Oryx
  • ISSN: 0030-6053
  • EISSN: 1365-3008
  • URL: /core/journals/oryx
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Type Description Title
PDF
Supplementary materials

Forero-Medina et al. supplementary material
Forero-Medina et al. supplementary material 1

 PDF (141 KB)
141 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed