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Eighty Morrocoy Tortoises were Released in Drummond Ltd. Conservation Areas

July 25, 2016

80 morrocoy tortoises were released on Drummond Ltd.’s mining land.
80 morrocoy tortoises were released on Drummond Ltd.’s mining land.

A total of 80 morrocoy (red-footed) tortoises were released in a Drummond Ltd. conservation area at the Pribbenow mine, located in the corregimiento of La Loma in the municipality of El Paso, Cesar. This is an example of how the company is supporting the work being carried out for the rescue and protection of the threatened species by the Corporación Autónoma Regional de la Frontera Nororiental (CORPONOR) and the Corporación Autónoma Regional del Cesar (CORPOCESAR) as entities committed to the planet and to preservation of the environment.

The above-mentioned corporations implement programs to return animals to their natural habitat and region of origin as part of their conservation of protected species program.

CORPONOR was the agency responsible for bringing the eighty morrocoy tortoises to Cesar.  They were returned to their natural habitat in one of the conservation areas of one of our mining projects, where we have the El Paujil reservoir. Over time the reservoir has developed environmental characteristics of much greater richness than its original condition, with great ecological and environmental benefits not only for wildlife but also for hydrological regulation that ultimately benefits the communities located downriver.

Liberacion de tortugas Morrocoy_DLTD

“Drummond is proud to possess conservation areas that allow diversity of species to strengthen in the center of Cesar to continue on our land. The morrocoy tortoise is a regional species that has been decimated due to high consumption by the communities,” said Armando Calvano, Drummond Ltd.’s Director of Environmental Compensation.

The director also stated that the arrival of the tortoises in this area creates the possibility of a genetic exchange with the existing population, and of future consolidation by the mine, which still has 25 years of planned operation remaining, of an important genetic bank that will permit strengthening both the upper and middle basins of the Serranía del Perijá and the lower part that is the area where the El Paujil reservoir is located.

Biologist Calvano also said that each time the environmental authority requests, Drummond joins the campaign because the company possesses defined areas that are ready for the internal relocation of individuals and have sufficient capacity to receive endangered fauna from other regions.

Because of this, after a long trip from the capital of Norte de Santander to the center of Cesar the selected animals were released in areas near El Paujil. For a few days the tortoises were given a diet similar to the one they would have in their natural environment in order to achieve their adaptation to the ecosystem. It was important that the animals should arrive hungry so that through feeding they could start to get acquainted with their new surroundings and adapt with no complications.

“In Environmental Guidelines of the CORPONOR and CORPOCESAR corporations joint work was done to be able to bring eighty morrocoy tortoises that we are releasing and relocating in this large nature reserve today. We thank Drummond Ltd. in advance for providing us with this space and sharing this great environmental event in favor of the conservation of these animals,” explained Julio José Llinás, a CORPONOR veterinary doctor.

In addition, the doctor said that a selection was made from the tortoises that have arrived at the CORPONOR halfway house thanks to voluntary handing over of them by the persons who possessed them. Others have arrived as a result of the control actions carried out by the competent authorities in relation to the illegal traffic of wildlife in the country.

For his part, Marino Zuleta, a CORPOCESAR veterinary doctor, declared that he was very pleased to participate in this event with the objective of releasing wild animals that fulfill a biological function in the environment.

“As a veterinarian I am excited to see the tortoises free in their habitat. Also, I want to plead with the people who participate in the sale and consumption of these animals to change to another activity and assist in the conservation of morrocoy tortoises, which are consumed indiscriminately in regions such as La Guajira and municipalities of Cesar such as Mariangola. We, as an environmental agency, congratulate Drummond, which we chose to carry out this release event because we know that the protection of animals and plants is one of the pillars of the company,” stated Marino Zuleta.

In this way, the regional autonomous corporations of Cesar and Norte de Santander recognize the environmental responsibility of Drummond Ltd., which is reflected in the environmental conservation areas of its various operations.