Hope for Central America's "white turtle."

In Guatemala's lush jungle, conservationists like Eleazar Gonzalez are working to save the endangered reptile from extinction. The species has fallen prey to poachers who sell the turtle's meat and eggs at food markets. But Gonzalez is bringing the turtles to a safe haven in del Tigre Natural Biosphere Reserve, where the eggs will hatch in safety, with the aid of incubators.

Eleazar Gonzalez, Marine Biology Specialist of the Wildlife Conservation Society recently said, "We continue to monitor the white turtle. These was done by incubating eggs, using two incubators we have here at El Peru lagoon. We have 60 eggs in the incubators, and from those 60 we managed to release 20 turtles six months after hatching. They were released here into the same lagoon." The Wildlife Conservation Society team measures and identifies the turtles, to get a better read of the existing turtle population. When fully grown, the white turtle is larger than most turtle species but its passive nature makes it easy to catch. It inhabits river systems throughout Central America but continued monitoring is essential for it to survive.

"It is special because it does not exist anywhere else in the world. Its anatomy has evolutionized the way it has because it is a river turtle, exclusively. If one places it on land it could harm the turtle," said veterinarian Manuel Lepe. Laguna del Tigre is located inside the vast Mayan Biosphere Reserve, a protected area. But conservationists say the park is still under threat from poaching and other illegal activities. They hope their efforts to rebuild the population, combined with stricter local laws will help save the rare white turtle from altogether disappearing. (Sharon Reich, Reuters)

These turtles are keystone Women holding turtle by seaspecies in the health and function of marine and coastal habitats. However, threats from egg poaching, pollution, habitat destruction, and fishing bi-catch have put Guatemala’s turtle population at great risk.

Volunteering with the turtle project will be provide a unique opportunity to live along Guatemala’s beautiful Pacific coast while challenging your creativity and work ability in a relatively new sector of volunteerism.


Conservation groups in Guatemala are rallying to the aid of the endangered Central American river turtle, the victim of poaching and habitat loss. Also known as the ''white turtle'', the reptile's meat and eggs are sought after by poachers, even in officially protected areas like the Maya Biosphere Reserve. Sharon Reich reports

Responses to "Conservationists Rally to Aid of Rare Guatemalan Turtle (Video)"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing, love turtles!

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