Conservationists watched over the mass hatching of about 100,000 river turtle nestlings on a tributary of the Amazon River in Brazil as cameras captured it on film. Giant South American river turtles (Podocnemis expansa) are the largest freshwater turtles in Latin America, growing as large as three and half feet from head to tail and weighing up to 200 pounds. The turtles are important seed dispersers throughout the Amazon River system, but they are trafficked for both their meat and eggs. Biologists are studying the reptiles in Abufari Biological Reserve on the Purus River, a tributary of the Amazon River, to learn more about their mass hatchings in an effort to protect the species. The turtles hatch en masse as a survival strategy, much like other turtle species.