In the verdant Amazon region of Peru, a dedicated environmental initiative is underway to bolster the population of yellow-spotted Amazon river turtles, known as taricayas. A group of passionate biologists recently released a substantial cohort of 3,200 turtles into the river as part of a comprehensive conservation program, aiming to revive the taricaya species threatened by hunting. The expedited release, prompted by an intense heat wave and drought, shortened the turtles’ usual incubation period from 60–72 days to approximately 45 days. These tiny hatchlings, measuring only a few centimeters, were carefully transported to the river’s edge in containers and set free into the aquatic environment with the assistance of local children.

The accelerated hatching of turtles in Peru’s Amazon is linked to higher temperatures and a significant drought, which are consequences of the El Niño climatic phenomenon. El Niño, causing an increase in Pacific Ocean temperatures, leads to various meteorological effects, including heavy coastal precipitation, heat waves, and Amazon droughts. Preserving the Amazon rainforest is vital for mitigating catastrophic climate change due to its immense capacity to absorb greenhouse gases. Despite this urgency, substantial portions of the Peruvian Amazon have succumbed to deforestation over the past two decades. Biologist Zabryna Pipa Perea, representing the Amarumayu Movement dedicated to Amazonian fauna preservation, stressed the release of 3,200 turtles, totaling 23,000, as a significant contribution to the species’ recovery.