Bolivia's President Evo Morales helps release into the Amazon's River Itenez more than 100,000 baby turtles, which can grow up to 3.2 feet wide and live for up to 100 years. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: More than 100,000 baby turtles were released on Wednesday (December 16) into a river, located to the northeast of the the Bolivian Amazon, to improve numbers and help to preserve the environment. Bolivia's President Evo Morales, along with Alexandra Moreira, Bolivian Minister for the Environment and Water, attended the releasing ceremony, held at the Versailles community in the department of Beni, which is located on the banks of River Itenez. The goal is to repopulate River Itenez with the small turtles, which can measure up to one meter (3.2 feet), weigh up to 70 kilos (154 pounds) and live for up to 100 years. The repopulating plan dates from 2007 and has the support of Brazil. According to Moreira, since 2007, 10 million baby turtles have been released back into River Itenez, near the border with Brazil. River turtles inhabiting the rivers of the Bolivian Amazon are endangered due to the high demand for their meat and eggs, which are high in protein, the Bolivian government said on its official website. The Tartaruga (Podocnemis expansa) and the river peta (Podocnemis unifilis) turtles live in the rivers of the departments of Beni, Cochabamba, La Paz, Pando and Santa Cruz. They play an important role in the ecosystem as they help to reforest flooded forests by digesting food, which help to clean the rivers.