Management Plan for the
Giant Amazonian Turtle, Podocnemis expansa,
in De La Tortuga Arrau Wildlife Refuge,
Orinoco River, Venezuela
LINA LICATA and XABIER ELGUEZABAL
Ministerio del Ambiente y de los Recursos, Naturales Renovables (MARNR), Servicio Autonómo de Fauna,
Nivel Mezzanina, Entrada Oeste, Centro Simón Bolivar, Caracas, República de Venezuela
ABSTRACT: The giant Amazonian turtle or arrau, Podocnemis expansa, is considered endangered by the IUCN and has been placed on Appendix II of CITES. Several factors have contributed to the species decline, including poaching of females, collection of eggs and hatchlings, intentional and incidental capture of adult turtles by fisherman, urban and industrial development near nesting sites, and lack of conservation education.
Despite its present status, the species high reproductive potential should enable it to recover rapidly in areas where human interference is limited and where a well-designed management program has been established. The Management Plan for the Arrau Turtle, Podocnemis expansa, at the Middle Orinoco River has included the protection of nesting beaches, a nursery program for the care and release of hatchlings, and an Environmental Education Program for the public. The Plan appears to have slowed the decline of nesting turtles, and a modest increase in their numbers has been recorded at the nesting beaches since 1992.