Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Artificial incubation of yellow-headed sideneck turtle Podocnemis unifilis eggs to reduce losses to flooding and predation, Cojedes and Manapire Rivers, southern Venezuela

Published source details

Herández O., Espinosa-Blanco A.S., May Lugo C., Jimenez-Oraa M. & Seijas A.E. (2010) Artificial incubation of yellow-headed sideneck turtle Podocnemis unifilis eggs to reduce losses to flooding and predation, Cojedes and Manapire Rivers, southern Venezuela. Conservation Evidence, 7, 100-105

Summary

Although widespread in South America, the yellow-headed sideneck turtle Podocnemis unifilis is considered 'Vulnerable' in Venezuela. A large portion of eggs of this riverine species may be lost due to predation (including collection by humans) and flooding. As a technique to enhance reproductive success, transfer of wild-laid clutches of eggs to protected zones for incubation has been successfully carried out. This study undertaken in 2009, evaluated the hatch success of clutches transferred to artificial nest chambers at protected locations compared with natural clutches left in situ along stretches of the Cojedes and Manapire rivers (Venezuela). Along the Cojedes River, 78 turtle nests were located, 27 of which were excavated and eggs transferred for incubation. In the Manapire River, 87 nests were located, eggs from 13 of which were transferred for incubation. In the Cojedes River, 28.2% of study clutches (n=22) were lost due to predation and flooding; in the Manapire River, 85% of nests (n=74) were lost due to predation (humans and other animals). At Cojedes River, hatching success of eggs in artificial nests was 88.2% and 63.2% in natural nests. At Manapire River, hatching success of eggs in artificial nests was 42% and 0% in natural nests.