Medellín, Colombia, Sep 23 (EFE).- More than 100 turtles rescued from smugglers, born in captivity or surrendered were undergoing medical and biological evaluations in Medellín, Colombia, on Thursday in the hopes they can be returned to the wild.
Medellín Conservation Park’s veterinarian Natacha Mejía Castrillón told Efe that the “exhaustive” clinical examination being carried out by an interdisciplinary team involves hydration, blood and stool tests, and other evaluations.
“We are checking that they have their complete limbs, that they do not have alterations in the skin and in the shell, since many animals that come from the illegal smuggling of wild species have metabolic alterations due to the poor diet they are given in captivity,” said Mejía.
So far, according to Mejía, more than 60 turtles are ready to be relocated to their natural habitat in an exercise coordinated by the Regional Autonomous Corporation of the Black and Nare River Basins (Cornare) and the Conservation Park.
These institutions hope to release 100 individuals, belonging to the species Rhinoclemmys melanosterna and Trachemys callirostris, next week in the municipality of Puerto Triunfo.
The reptiles are being evaluated by two veterinarians, a biologist and an ethologist (animal behaviouralist), supported by interns.
The expert pointed out that many of the turtles examined have fulfilled the “health and biological” characteristics needed for their release, while a small group is undergoing treatment for various pathologies.
Mejía assured that “the probability of survival is high with these species” as reptiles “are born without maternal care, so they are animals with a high survival instinct.”
According to the Conservation Park, which deals with the rehabilitation, reproduction, release and monitoring of native species, freshwater turtles are highly affected by illegal wildlife trafficking in Colombia, because they are relatively easy to catch and sell. EFE