Mawii turtle populations in Peten Guatemala are under serious stress. The gentle, huge Mawii used to feed around the private docks that dotted the shores of Flores on Lake Peten Itza. But over the years, pressure from development and the local population has pushed the Mawii to the brink of extinction here in Peten Guatemala.
The Mawii is huge, gentle, slow and too easy to hunt for the poor of Peten suffering for a lack of protein in their diets. The Mawii is protected in Guatemala with legislation but that doesn’t stop the sale or slaughter of these huge ancient beautiful creatures, unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs.
While fresh fish sells for $3 per pound, Mawii meat sells for $20 a pound. Help us show the people of Peten that the ancient, huge Mawii turtles are best left alone – alive. We need your help with the Good Turtles volunteer project.
…makes us sick.
Baby turtles sold as edible trinkets for your smartphone or keyring. Here’s the story – these poor little turtles are scavenged from nests in Latin America and shipped to China. Once hatched, they’re sealed into a plastic bag filled with a ‘nutrient-rich’ solution. Even a little turtle that can breath water can’t survive the plastic bag of ‘nutrient rich’ colored water. The little turtle lives a week or so and finally suffocates. Once the baby turtle is dead the bag is tossed into the microwave for 30 seconds and then served with rice. Disturbing. Unfortunately a similar fate is awaiting many Latin American turtles – where they’re harvested.
Mawii are not good on land and only leave their main body of water during the rainy season to enter flooded areas, make their nest and leave a clutch of 10-20 eggs. Mawii are very well-suited to their watery lifestyle and have the ability to filter oxygen from water and can remain underwater indefinitely.
Mawii turtles can even sleep under water. Because of the Mawiis’ water only approach very little is known about these ancient turtles. It is estimated they mature at 10 years of age; but other researchers have suggested maturation might be much longer. The longest a Mawii has ever lived in captivity is 12 years – in a zoo – on cement that wreaks havoc with their delicate shells.
We would like to thank the following for the contribution to our understanding of an issue we’ve been following for more than 10 years here in Peten…
…time to do something for the Mawii and we hope to work with you to create a sustainable solution for the critical endangered Mawii.