Brazil

New Hope for Hoge’s Side-necked Turtle

Project Cost: $145,000

Funding Raised: $145,000

$614.41 per acre (1 acre = 43,560 sq ft)

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Restricted to the Paraíba do Sul Basin and adjacent areas in Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest, Hoge’s Side-necked Turtle is severely threatened due to the destruction and fragmentation of its small range. Although currently listed by the IUCN as Endangered, it has been recommended for an updated Critically Endangered status due to population declines.

One of the last confirmed populations of Hoge’s Side-necked Turtle is found along a small portion of the Carangola River. This area has been declared a priority site by the Alliance for Zero Extinction (a coalition of international conservation nonprofits) due to its importance for the survival of the Hoge’s Side-necked Turtle.

Rainforest Trust is working with local Brazilian partner, Fundação Biodiversitas, to purchase 236 acres of land along the river that is critical habitat for the turtles. Securing this land as a private reserve will help recover Hoge’s Side-necked Turtle’s, and may be the best hope of saving the population from extinction.

We would like to thank the Turtle Survival Alliance and the Wildlife Conservation Society for assisting with the creation of the Hoge’s Side-necked Turtle Reserve.

Fast Facts

Location
Minas Gerais State, Brazil

Size
236 acres

Key Species
Hoge’s Side-necked Turtle (EN)

Habitat
Paraiba do Sul and Itapemirim River basin of southeast Brazil

Threats
Logging, agricultural expansion, illegal pet trade

Action
Purchase 236 acres of land to create the Hoge’s Side-necked Turtle Reserve

Local Partner
Fundação Biodiversitas

Total Cost of Project
$145,000

Price per Acre
$614.41

Biodiversity

As of yet, little is known about Hoge’s Side-necked Turtle. The species is endemic to the Paraíba do Sul and Itapemirim River Basins found in Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest.

Considered a biodiversity hotspot, the Atlantic Forest harbors a range of biological diversity similar to the Amazon. More than 60% of all of Brazil’s threatened animal species call this forest home, including many endemic species. Over 6000 plant species, 263 amphibians, and 160 mammals, including 22 species of primates are found throughout the Atlantic Forest. More than 52% of the tree species and 92% of the amphibians in the Atlantic Forest are found nowhere else in the world. Today, Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest is one of the most endangered biomes on Earth, with only 7% of the original forest remaining. As the vast majority of the Atlantic Forest has disappeared, much of its wildlife is highly endangered.

Challenges

The majority of the remaining Atlantic Forest lies within the agricultural, industrial, and population centers of southeastern Brazil, along with 75% of the country’s human population. This region has been losing habitat to sugar and coffee plantations for hundreds of years and recently has been facing severe pressure from encroaching urbanization.

In the last 40 years a dramatic increase in people and growing industry have put greater demand on the main river and its tributaries as a source of water and energy. The rivers have been redirected and damned by hydroelectric plants in four locations. The river is now becoming the source of water for 12 million people, hundreds of industries, and vast expanses of irrigated fields.

Communities

A variety of rural communities are sprinkled along the Carangola River and its tributaries made up of fishermen, farmers, and rural landowners.

The Carangola River and its tributaries are an important source of livelihood for fishermen. However, declining catches have forced some fishermen to adopt unsustainable practices such as fishing during spawning season and in protected areas to support their families. These practices are carried out in an isolated manner, diminishing fish stocks and indiscriminately destroying other biota without regard for the survival and sustainability of the ecosystem as a whole.

Solutions

Rainforest Trust is working with Brazilian partner, Fundação Biodiversitas to acquire land adjacent to the Carangola River, starting with the purchase of a 236-acre property identified as critical habitat for Hoge’s Side-necked Turtles.

The property contains areas of preserved Atlantic Forest as well as disturbed areas that have been abandoned for many years and left to regenerate. The abandoned pasture is now occupied with small trees, spread throughout the whole area and ranging in size up to 20 feet tall. The purchase of the land around the Carangola River will greatly increase the quality of habitat for Hoge’s Side-necked Turtle, which appears to be surviving solely at this portion of the Carangola River and surrounding areas. Purchasing land and securing it as a private reserve will contribute to the recovery of the turtle’s population, while safeguarding wildlife habitat for many other species.