Over 90,000 turtles born in rare Brazilian hatching event

It’s been a big year for turtles, with the pandemic allowing turtles to hatch on beaches that are free of humans. This week, however, a remarkable hatching event took place on the Purus River in Brazil as a reported 90,000 giant South American river turtles were born. 

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) staff monitor the delicate nests for months leading up to the yearly hatching and this year, they were delighted to see record-breaking births. Due to the fact that only 1 percent of turtle hatchlings survive to see adulthood, it is common for sea turtles to lay eggs in large volumes, but 90,000 is a rare occurrence. 

The giant South American river turtle is one of the largest freshwater turtles in the world and can weigh up to 200 pounds. They play a vital role in river ecosystems cycling nutrients, scavenging, and contributing to soil dynamics. 

The huge population boom is good news for conservation efforts, but also for the survival rates of the little hatchlings. Larger birth rates allow the turtles to travel in a protected pack back to the river’s edge. In other words, there is strength in numbers. 

For wildlife, pandemic related shutdowns have been a breath of fresh air from some of the human threats these animals face. If nothing else, at least we get to celebrate thriving turtle populations this year. 

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