Along the Napo River, a tributary to the great Amazon River, women of the indigenous Kichwa community of Sani Isla are running a Charapa turtle conservation program at the Sani Warmi Charapa Turtle Sanctuary. These women are on a mission to protect the local population of Charapa river turtles while supporting themselves economically and expanding their community’s resources.
What is Sani Warmi?
Sani Warmi is a women-led organization that leads a variety of sustainable projects in Sani Isla which tie together forest conservation, education, and sustainable enterprises to build a more stable economy in the community. Rainforest Partnership has partnered with Sani Warmi for over ten years, on sustainable projects like Sani Warmi’s artisan handicrafts enterprise.
Empowering Women in the Amazon Rainforest
The Sani Warmi Adopt-a-Turtle Program protects Charapa turtles and builds economic resilience for the women, their families, and the community.
Protecting the Charapa turtle (as with any species or ecosystem) begins with empowered rainforest communities. When communities are financially stable, they are more resilient to external threats to their land and livelihoods and have a greater capacity to lead bottom-up conservation work.
Women in our partner communities often lack the resources and options to support themselves financially. Sustainable projects such as this one allow the women of Sani Isla to support themselves and their community while simultaneously protecting the local population of Charapa turtles.
Our shared goal as partners - Rainforest Partnership and Sani Warmi
Since the coronavirus pandemic began, Sani Isla and Sani Warmi lost their primary sources of income, most of which came from ecotourism. The sudden disappearance of income negatively impacted the Sani Warmi's economy and left them with little to no resources to continue projects and support themselves as an organization.
To supplement some of this lost income, we worked with Sani Warmi to extend the Adopt a Turtle program to online spaces. Bringing the program online helped spread conservation awareness and expanded the project’s capacity to generate sustainable income for the women (during the pandemic and post-pandemic).
When a baby Charapa turtle is adopted, all the collected funds go directly to the women who built the nursery, organized the program, and raised the turtles. The funds also help sustain the Adopt-a-Turtle program to protect more turtles every year.
Why Charapa River Turtles?
In the exceedingly biodiverse Amazon Rainforest, the Charapa river turtle is an invaluable member of the forest community. One of their most important jobs involves distributing plant seeds across their environment, playing a key role in the renewal of new plant life in the Amazon. Charapa turtles are also an essential source of food for other wildlife.
Unfortunately, Charapa turtles face several threats that challenge their ability to thrive in their native habitats. Females and their eggs are overhunted, deforestation destroys charapa turtles’ habitat, and extensive mining adds dangerous pollutants to their environment. Furthermore, environmental threats to indigenous communities in the Amazon destroy and degrade their land, leaving them with limited opportunities to build economic resilience and, in turn, protect the rainforest.
As deforestation continues at alarmingly high rates, Charapa turtles need your help now, more than ever.
How can you help? Adopt your very own baby charapa turtle today!
After adopting a turtle, you'll receive an adoption certificate, photos, and updates from Sani Isla and Rainforest Partnership. You’ll also get to watch your turtle be released into the lagoon!
Adopting a Charapa turtle makes for a perfect holiday gift for the animal lover in your life. Or if you're a teacher, a baby turtle may be an exciting classroom pet!
Adopt A Baby Charapa Turtle Today!