Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Shellie was tagged by Stephen and Faye on 25th July 2009 (Tag numbers YYY726 & YYY727) on Costa Fragata where she nested (not in a very good place so the nest was moved trans situ). She was seen three more times in the same area where she nested twice. Then she was brutally killed at Serra Negra on the 28th September. She was quite small so it was probably her first or second nesting season meaning her potential for increasing the turtle population is now lost. It is becoming clear that relatively small size is an indication that not many of Cabo Verde's nesting turtles make it past a third season. Shellie's final nest on Costa Fragata will be hatching soon - we will do our best at least to make sure her hatchlings make it into the sea.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Unfortunately all this rain has impacted the turtles as well. For various reasons our friends in the military have not been on the beaches for around ten days and it seems that the hunters are well aware of this. This week we have lost one turtle in Serra Negra and one the night before last on Costa Fragata, a stone's throw from Santa Maria. On Saturday night when João was with a group of guests out for turtle walk near Paradise Beach he found tell tale drag mark which told him there was a turtle about to be killed. Sure enough, the hunters were there with the turtle and claimed that it was their turtle and they were entitled to kill it and João as well if he interfered. Standing his ground João (and his group who bravely stayed as well) the turtle was saved and returned to the sea. She was named Suerte (Luck) and happily she nested two nights later in the same area. Not so lucky for the other two. However much we patrol we cannot be everywhere at once and when a turtle is killed there is a great sense of loss in our group and also a feeling of responsibility.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Rain is destroying the beaches and the town at the moment. The entire beach profile has changed and we suspect that many nests will have been washed into the sea. A particular area of concern is Serra Negra where the beach is narrow and a lot of rain will flow directly from the mountain, causing deep gullies and rifts. Because of the risk of lightning strikes, for the first time, our Rangers were unable to patrol last night but we did manage to get to the hatcheries and find some crazy baby turtles who chose the stormy night to make an appearance!
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
It's still turning out to be a bumper year here in Sal. As of the 5th September we have 2,908 tracks (compared to a total of 1,238 in 2008), 689 nests (compared to 347 for all of 2008) and we have tagged 260 turtles (compared to 101 last year). Unfortunately, we still have turtles being killed. On protected beaches 1% of turtle emergences end in death compared to a terrible 15% on the northern beaches which we are unable to patrol. At least the mortality rate for the protected beaches is in decline (it was 1.71% last year) but it is still too much.