Community Loggerhead Conservation, Boa Vista Island, Cape Verde

Cabo Verde Natura 2000 defends the environment, the conservation of natural resources and their ecosystems, the promotion of sustainable development and the preservation of the historical and archaeological heritage in the Cape Verde archipelago.

Cape Verde beaches host one of the world’s largest loggerhead turtle nesting populations, and the only one in the eastern Atlantic. The beaches of southeastern Boa Vista, host the highest densities of loggerhead nests, with an estimated 40,000 females visiting, meaning that conservation and protection of these beaches is crucial for this important rookery. The main threats to this population are poaching of nesting adult females, marine debris, low beach productivity and high predation of turtle hatchlings. CV Natura 2000 will run two field camps, combined with strengthening involvement of local communities. 15 local people will be recruited to carry out daily monitoring of beaches for tracks, nests, signs of turtles and hunting, and move some eggs to hatcheries. At least 10 clean ups of 15km of beaches from marine debris, 20 environmental education activities, training of staff and volunteers for monitoring and beach cleaning, development of educational materials and events for the local population will take place.

The Update

This project, completed in June 2023, has been a great success, with highlights of the project as follows:

– Poaching reduced by 70% (in comparison to the previous year) which was due to the creation of a new checkpoint, as well as the recruitment of 15 local surveillance staff to patrol the area.

– 105 nesting females were rescued.

– A total of 21,318 nests were recorded in the 15 km patrolled area. In some circumstances nests were moved to hatcheries to increase the chances of nest and hatchling survival e.g. from beaches where crab predation was high.

– 101 people trained: 38 local/national assistants, 4 international assistants, 17 local/national volunteers and 42 international volunteers. Collaboration was made with various national and international universities.

– 8 clean-up campaigns were carried out with the participation of 210 people, removing approximately 5,300 kg of marine debris and covered an area of 7 km of beaches.

– Over the year a total of 3540 people visited the project’s Education centre: 3,300 foreigners, and approximately 240 local people.

– 2 talks, involving 44 students at the high school, explained the process of displacement and accumulation of marine litter on the coasts of the island, and to make them aware that this is a product of a global problem and not just a local one.

– Various activities were carried out in the area with children and the local population, particularly on World Sea Turtle Day. These included: making decorated sea turtles with rubbish found on the beaches, 4 murals of sea turtles were made from wood and bottle caps; designing T-shirts; exhibition of photos on conservation work; sea turtle predation game for children. All activities were designed to highlight the issue of rubbish and how it relates to the sea turtle, marine environment, and local area. Approximately 200 children and adults were involved across these activities.

– 6 information panels were placed in the protected areas to highlight the importance of sea turtles on the island and worldwide, as well as to explain why the beaches are littered with so much waste. In addition, information panels were placed in the controlled hatching areas to explain the reason for the use of this tool in conservation.

Cabo Verde Natura 2000 continue its dedicated turtle work, undertaking annual surveillance of the most problematic areas in relation to the capture of nesting females, making plans for annual environmental education campaigns to be implemented with students of the high school, and carrying out beach cleaning campaigns during the sea turtle season.