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A sunny day in Lima, Peru, was transformed into a sunny day in the jungle after thousands of baby baby river turtles were released back into the wild.
BBC News gave a “Live from Peru” account on YouTube, giving followers a front row seat to the event.
A woman dressed as a character from the Looney Tunes animated cartoon film series, Super Friends, leads a large crowd of turtles back into the wild.
The event took place in a freshwater area called Bocamonuc, which is surrounded by the Andes mountains.
The statement also noted that because the turtles have not hatched yet, they need to be released immediately. They do not want them to become “urbanized,” which is what happens to adult sea turtles that survive being released in the metropolitan area of Lima.
Bocamonuc is protected by a law that protects all migratory birds that land on the area. Other wildlife, like birds, bats and insects, are protected for 20-years.
“There are about 8,000 nesting pairs of river turtles in this area,” the statement reads. “The water is very rich and there is a great abundance of fish, which attracts turtles to the area.”
Swati Karia, a teacher, was reported as saying that the event was seen as a success.
“We are happy we can let them go so that they can find their parents,” she told BBC News. “There are lots of predators, including foxes, badgers and raccoons. They need to eat food and they can’t survive in captivity. I am worried for the future of the turtles but they are doing well at the moment.”
Rafael Tovar, an environmental advisor in Peru, added: “This puts the turtles in contact with the plants and animals of the natural world.”
“We’ve taken care of the turtles and it is also important that they eat the plant and wildlife that naturally live in this place,” he said. “We expect that the turtles will soon be smaller but also healthier.”
The event took place on a sunny day and video footage show the turtles gently walking down a rocky path.
According to the statement, the turtles were found on the banks of a canal that runs under an elevated highway in the city.
“We are happy we can let them go so that they can find their parents,” said Sonia Agosto, a schoolteacher, who was also shown in the video. “They are going to find their parents and we wish that they find their families.”
She added: “With this, we can show the world that every part of Peru is not like Lima. This event is the beginning and the area will change in five years.”
Tovar also said this event is especially significant because Peru will host next year’s Earth Summit. The Earth Summit is held annually in Durban, South Africa, and is aimed at improving human life and well-being on the planet.
“This is to send a message to the world that Peru is a country which is trying to make progress on the environment in a way in which the human lives will be beneficial,” he said.
A man’s voice can be heard saying, “Go be happy,” as thousands of baby turtles are released back into the wild.
For eight-months, the turtles were held in an aquarium in Los Sueños, which is 30 miles outside Lima. Officials decided to move the turtles to Bocamonuc because it is protected and the barrier is high enough to keep the water level at its regular level in case the turtles get too far from their natural habitat.
According to the statement, there is also a solar panel at the venue which runs constantly to cool the water and keep the water temperature below the recommended 25 degrees. The water temperature will stay below 30 degrees until the turtles are over six weeks old.
“There are lot of predators, including foxes, badgers and raccoons. They need to eat food and they can’t survive in captivity. I am worried for the future of the turtles but they are doing well at the moment.” — Rufaro Tovar, environment advisor in Peru
Tovar said that next year, a group of turtle trainers from the UK will come to Peru to watch the turtles and learn how to understand them better.
There are also other species of river turtles, but these are the baby ones and are approximately four months old.