The Arrau turtle is the largest freshwater in South America. Very long-lived, when adults can to weigh more than 35 kilos and have a shell of two feet of largo.Su and large broods over 100 eggs per position, have made the Orinoco turtle very chased an animal, both for consumption their meat and their eggs.
This turtle was for many years a major food source for the inhabitants of the banks of the Orinoco and some of its tributaries as Capanaparo, Meta and Apure, but the irrational exploitation for over five hundred years led this species to such a critical point that was necessary to take measures to prevent their extinction.
Alexander von Humboldt, in his interesting book "Journey to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent" describes how to return from his expedition to Casiquiare, found at the confluence of the Orinoco Apure with a large group of Creoles and Indians collecting turtle eggs for extract the oil with which to light the lamps lit the dark nights of Angostura.
Humboldt stopped to watch the canoes full of eggs of these turtles that mixed broken and its contents were left to dry in the sun until the oil floating on the shells and dried remains the clear.
The sage was very impressed by the sight of so many canoes full of oil and estimated that in that year, 1800, in the middle Orinoco was a larger amount to 330,000 turtles laying.
Gradually hens were disappearing mothers forcing the national government to take mediated for protection. In 1946 he banned the collection of eggs and hatchlings, in 1962 when it was estimated that there were only about 17,000 adult specimens established a complete ban on its fishing and marketing. But these measures were not enough and in 1979 had to include Arrau turtle on the list of endangered species.