SOS Turtles –
Cape Verde is believed to be the world’s third most important nesting site for loggerhead turtles with the main turtles nesting areas on Boa Vista, Maio and Sal.
Each year from June to November the female turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. After 56-70 days, the hatchlings are born and the survivors roam the oceans until they are mature. After 20-30 years the females will return to their birthplace to lay their eggs and the males may never come ashore again.
The great concern in Cape Verde is the slaughter of turtles at night time and it is believed that without action, marine turtles could be extinct in Cape Verde in as little as 8 years.
In the summer of 2007 two very concerned individuals Juan Blanco and Jacquie Cozens were both appalled at the brutal and blatant slaughter of turtles every night on beaches all over Sal and each was determined to do something about it. They ended up setting up SOS Turtles which patrols the beaches at night and protects the nesting sites as well as providing educational visits to the sites.
Archipelago Choice donates annually to this excellent organisation and we also arrange for our clients to go on visits which in turn helps fund their essential work.
LATEST NEWS FROM SOS
It’s been an amazing season, with the whole country recording many more turtle tracks and nests than ever before. We estimate that there will be around 1,900 nests on Sal by the end of October, the most we have had since we started was 1,037 in 2009.
Once again we had a full programme for children during the summer. Activities included arts & crafts, theatre, film nights & more. All with an environmental theme of course. We also held Junior Ranger camps in Serra Negra for the older children.
We are delighted that so many more Caboverdeans participated in the project this year. We have 12 full time paid Monitors working alongside international volunteers. In addition, we have hosted visitors from our partner projects in six other islands. They have come for additional training as well as to network with other conservationists. 30% of the money donated is used to support turtle projects and educational activities on islands with no tourism revenue.
Our hatchery is huge this year – we are up to 314 nests. That’s around 25,000 potential hatchlings. While it might seem like a good thing, one of the reasons is that we have to move ALL nests from the west coast. They are threatened by human activity, light pollution & predation by dogs.