In 2007, Turtle Foundation learned of a critical threat to the existence of the nesting population of loggerhead sea turtles in Boavista, Cape Verde. Over 1100 female turtles that year were brutally slaughtered as they came ashore to nest, a number estimated to be 35% of this year's nesting population. Turtle Foundation responded immediately, and in 2008 sent personnel to Boavista, where we set up a beach patrol on Porto Ferreira Beach, one of the turtles’ favorite beaches on which to lay their eggs. In 2007, over 600 turtles were killed on this beach alone. The success of the protection program was immediately apparent: "Only" 60 dead turtles were found on this beach, which corresponds to a reduction in the mortality rate of 90%.
Each year since, we have expanded our program to additional nesting beaches; we are now protecting 5 beaches with over 20 km of nesting area, and each year the number of turtles killed has been reduced. Our program includes the participation of the local military, and international volunteers from around the world. Our programs also includes data collection on nesting and hatching events, and tagging of turtles for internesting data and to help assess population size.
The conservation project is complemented by numerous accompanying measures. Turtle Foundation is active in community and school education programs, including our “Escola na Naturaleza” program, or “School in Nature” program, which trades the classroom for a beach camp and the children learn sea turtle biology, marine ecology, participate in organized beach clean-ups, and accompany Turtle Foundation personnel on patrols and assist with data collecting. Turtle Foundation also organizes beach clean-ups, helps train community members to participate in ecotourism, and assists with finding alternative sources of income for the local community.
Your donation will fund, for example, the training of local candidates to the official "turtle rangers". They make a very valuable contribution both to the active species protection and to create alternative sources of income in the local population!