Abstract

In the Rio Negro, the third-largest tributary of the Amazon, many turtle species have been important commercial and protein resources for centuries for populations of humans living in the region. For many years, this had been a sustainable activity, but nowadays the outlook for turtle populations in the Amazon is unfavorable due to increasing hunting pressure. Based on 20 yrs of conservation work in the Amazon, we report on the pressure faced by turtle populations in the area and report a sustainable chelonian exploitation alternative developed in the Rio Negro region. We describe the materials and the hand processing artisans use to transform natural resources into artworks. Based on this community program model, we discuss the current government support to local communities of the Rio Negro and provide insights on the application of this economic alternative to substitute for turtle commercialization in the Amazon. The outcomes of this manuscript have direct applications for environmental managers, nongovernmental organizations, and policymakers in Brazil and aim to call government and environmental managers to promote turtle conservation in the Amazon, securing economic safety for local communities.

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