Podocnemis lewyana
Magdalena River Turtle

    • Habitat:
      Turbid rivers and their tributaries of the Sinu, San Jorge, Cauca and Magdalena River drainages
    • Threats:
      - River damming
      - Pollution
      - Poaching of eggs and adult turtles
    • Conservation Efforts:
      - Nest protection & translocation
      - Egg incubation and capture & release
      - Protecting nesting sandbars
      Field surveys and population monitoring
      Community outreach and engagement
    • Wild Population:
      - Unknown/Declining
    • Endangered Status:
      Critically Endangered

Fast Facts

This is the only Podocnemid turtle to naturally occur west of the Andes Mountains.

On 19 May 2017, over 1,000 Critically Endangered Magdalena River Turtle (Podocnemis lewyana) hatchlings were released into the muddy waters of the Sinu River in northwestern Colombia. The release event was attended by hundreds of locals from the Cotocta Arriba district of Cordoba, Colombia; many of whom are active participants in the Tortugas del Sinu conservation program there.

On the Sinu River, the Magdalena River turtle is subject to massive nest loss when the Urr dam releases water that floods the sand banks.  Mitigating this loss through the collecting and hatching eggs, that would otherwise be lost, is the job of the Cotocta community; one that they take quite seriously.

Species Snapshot