SOS Tartarugas works in Cape Verde protecting nesting loggerheads turtles (Caretta caretta) and their habitat. Cape Verde is the third most important nesting area for loggerheads in the world. Turtles are at risk from hunting for meat, stealing of eggs, removal of sand for building and unregulated tourism development. Our email is
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Sunday, June 28, 2009

First Crazy Turtle of the Year

This female loggerhead was found wandering around 500m from the sea yesterday. We were conducting our first weekly survey where we visit every tiny bit of beach on the island to count tracks and nests. For some reason she had become confused after laying her nest and wandered inland. For once we can't say it was because of lights because the area around Mont Leão is quite dark. It was really lucky for her that we chose to do the survey that day as we wouldn't usually go to this bit of beach. Neal, Euclides, Andy & Antonio eventually got her back into the sea and while they were tagging her several jeeps full of happy tourists arrived and were able to watch her swim off. The first save of the season!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Maggie Marine's incredible journey

Capeverdian Turtle Sends a Message from Senegal

Maggie Marine, a female loggerhead satellite tagged in Boa Vista in August 2006 has just sent a signal almost three years after being released. Maggie's transmitter stopped sending information in December 2006 but now she is back and swimming around off the coast of west Africa. Usually tags fail when the battery runs out or they are dislodged and signals are only expected to continue for a year or so, but Maggie's is still working after 1,036 days. It has been suggested that the salt-water switch that the tag needs to work became jammed and has now worked itself free. Other turtles released at the same time only sent signals for a matter of weeks before their tags failed. Maggie has covered 5,826kms on her incredible journey and since loggerheads nest every two to three years, she may even be seen on one of our beaches this summer.

For more information

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Silliness to celebrate the first nests

How long does it take to establish a tradition? We thought we could carry on from last year by getting everyone to jump off the pier after the first nest was laid on Sal. More photos at

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

First nests at last

After 14 days of full patrols we finally have two nests on Sal. They were laid within an hour of each other and within a few metres on Algodoeiro (west coast). They were both at risk - one from flooding by high tides and the other from roots that would damage the eggs, so they were moved to the hatchery this morning. One nest had 110 eggs and the other had 89. At last the season has started properly!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The first turtle of 2009

The first tracks seen by members of SOS were in Maio on the 17th June but some tracks were seen earlier in Boa Vista. Here in Sal the first tracks were seen on the night of the 18th June on 'Black Sand Beach' (Zone N). It was a false crawl with no nest. Since then we have had another three tracks but still no nest. Compared to last year this is a bit of a slow start.

So unfortunately, the sweepstake was not won as nobody guessed the right day AND the right beach. Juan was the closest with his guess of the 17th on Zone N as was Jagdeep (18th Zone J).
Thanks a lot if you participate - you helped us to raise CVE 4500 (€45).

The next sweepstake will be about the first nest to hatch which will be mid to end of August.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Archie Carr

For people involved in efforts to protect sea turtles, Tuesday has special meaning. On that day 100 years ago, Dr. Archie Carr, the man recognized as the “father” of sea turtle research and conservation, was born in Mobile, Ala.

For many area residents, Carr’s name is known primarily in association with the 20-mile stretch of coastline from Melbourne Beach to Wabasso Beach, which was designated as the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge.

Carr National Wildlife Refuge was established to protect the largest nesting population of loggerhead turtles in the Western Hemisphere and the largest nesting population of green turtles in the United States. It contains important nesting beaches for leatherback turtles as well.

Few people fully understand who Carr was or why he was so important to the world of conservation. He was a revered zoology professor at the University of Florida, the world’s leading authority on sea turtles, a brilliant writer of scientific and popular literature, and an internationally acclaimed advocate for conservation. His inquiring mind was legendary and he inspired legions of scientific followers and activists.

It would be a fitting tribute for everyone to reflect, like Carr did, on the wonder of nature and the mystery of sea turtles. Pick up a book he wrote, like “So Excellent A Fish” or “Ulendo,” or read about him in "A Naturalist in Florida"; or "The Man Who Saved Sea Turtles." But to truly honor Carr, one need only take up the cause for protecting wildlife and wild places.

Turtles are here (well in Boa Vista at least)

We have been doing morning patrols for 15 days and night patrols for 9 and now news has just reached us that there are tracks and nests in Boa Vista. Can't be long before they are here, maybe the morning patrol will return with news....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

At loggerheads?

At loggerheads' is of UK origin. The singular 'loggerhead' occurs as a name in several contexts - as a species of turtle, a bird and as a place name. Originally, a loggerhead was none of these but was first used with the meaning of 'a stupid person - a blockhead'. Shakespeare used it that way in Love's Labours Lost, 1588:

"Ah you whoreson logger-head, you were borne to doe me shame."

A 'logger-head' was literally a 'block-head'. A logger was a thick block of timber which was fastened to a horse's leg to prevent it from running away. In the 17th century, a loggerhead was also recorded as 'an iron instrument with a long handle used for melting pitch and for heating liquids'. It is likely that the use of these tools as weapons was what was being referred to when rivals were first said to be 'at loggerheads'.

Monday, June 8, 2009

World Ocean Day 2009

What an amazing day we had at the beach yesterday... dozens of volunteers worked for hours to remove all the plastic, glass and fishing net from Costa Fragata with help from our friends in the military. Looking at the beach I felt quite emotional, I have never seen it so clean.... A barbie at Grijinha was our reward - great effort everyone! A few more photos here

Friday, June 5, 2009

Help reduce waste

If we have 2,500 tourists arriving everyday and they stay for a week, they will consume at least one 1.5l bottle of water a day - that's.... (thinking) .... 17,500 bottles a week and close to a million a year as a conservative estimate. And that doesn't even account for the people living here. With burning in the open air as the only disposal option, you can start to see that we are living on a tiny island with a massive environmental problem. How about this as part of a solution?|66%3A2|65%3A12|39%3A1|240%3A1318|301%3A1|293%3A1|294%3A50
Thanks to Neil Davis for the link.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Turtle Sweepstake

Where and when will the first turtle on Sal come ashore? Select a zone, choose a day and email or post your guess. If you want to 'win' a nest in the hatchery make a €2 donation.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ladies and gentlemen - welcome to Paradise

Made our first complete morning patrol today and what a depressing experience it was. The situation on the beaches has deteriorated so much that right now, before the first turtle has appeared, it seems an utterly hopeless task.

On the western coast what used to be suitable habitat for turtles has been turned into a virtual racetrack. The entire length of Algodoeiro has been driven over so much during the winter that the sand has been compacted and is now rock hard. I tried to dig at the far northern part (the highest density nesting zone in 2008) but was completely unable to get more than a few centimeters down. I am at a loss to see how any turtle will be able to dig a nest there.

One of the problems is the Paradise Beach fence and the ditches in front of Cabocan which have severely restricted access at the rear of the beaches.

We will continue our campaign to dissuade people from driving on the beach and attempt to replace the barriers and signs that have been removed but I also appeal to all of you to help us in whatever way you can. The situation is so much worse now that I fear we will very soon have no turtle habitat left on the west coast of Sal.

What a great start.....

Monday, June 1, 2009

June 1st

First day of patrols today! Will be out looking for tracks later.