Superhero turtles? They don’t wear masks or capes, but thanks to the women in one Ecuadorean community, they have superpowers for forests.
The charapa, or arrau turtle, is a large freshwater turtle that lives in Amazon river basins. The turtles and their eggs are sold in local markets as a food source, but overhunting threatens the local charapa population. Among Indigenous communities working to protect this important species are the members of Sani Warmi, a women-led organization in the Kichwa community of Sani Isla in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest. Each nesting season, the women of Sani Warmi collect charapa eggs and bring them to their own turtle nursery, caring for the baby turtles until they are ready to be released back into the forest on their own.
Sani Warmi creates economic opportunities for its community through a diverse range of sustainable projects—from making traditional handicrafts, to agroforestry to raising native fish called cachama. Such sustainable livelihood opportunities that benefit both people and rainforests also offer the community the economic resilience necessary to prevent economic-driven deforestation.
Sani Warmi has organized an adopt-a-turtle program for several years, and now with Rainforest Partnership, are offering the program online as a way for people around the world to support their work protecting the charapa turtles and the biodiversity of their rainforest home.
The turtle project is a powerful illustration of Rainforest Partnership’s collaborative partnerships with Indigenous and local rainforest communities to generate income in ways that empower and respect both people and nature and help conserve thriving tropical rainforests that support a healthy, vibrant planet.
Embrace your own superpower and adopt a charapa turtle, supporting these precious forest animals and strengthening rainforest protection through the women of Sani Warmi.