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, December 27, 2009

Nest hatches in 70 days

Only two nests left now, both on Costa Fragata (east coast of Sal), one in the area we call Quarry and the other beyond the kite surfing area known as Kite Beach. This nest hatched on the 21st December and the incubation period was 70 days - that's 17 days longer than the average during the season. Happy to say that it didn't unduly affect the success rate which was 91% - 50 out of 55 baby turtles hatched and emerged from the nest.

The photo shows the 'frags' (shell fragments that are left after hatchlings emerge) that we count in order to calculate how many eggs hatched successfully.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

How it was before

This article is really interesting, it was written in 2005 and talks about how easy it was for turtles to be killed on Sal.

"Beaches such as Parda, Serra Negra, Puf, Algodoeiro and Ponta Preta become veritable turtle shell dumps between July and September every year, when the species reproduces. Many wait anxiously for this moment, when the sea turtles that inhabit the waters of Cape Verde are at their most vulnerable."

That's exactly how it was when we arrived here, but through the dedication of the Rangers with assistance from the military and the Camara Municipal do Sal you will now rarely see the remains of turtles on the beaches.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

An oldie but a goodie...

Just came across this article in one of our local papers A Semana. It was the day the President of Sal released the first turtles born in our new hatchery on Praia Antonio de Sousa. A real occasion for the team and the community.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Last couple of nests on the beach

Excavated a nest on Costa Fragata yesterday (very successful 75/90 hatched) but failed to find a nest that we knew had hatched a couple of nights ago. The tracks all led to one spot, but despite nine of us digging the whole area, we could not find the egg chamber! Unfortunately the vast majority of the hatchlings went towards the lights of Santa Maria, in particular the residential zone of Antonio de Sousa and many also followed the quad tracks running parallel to the beach. Costa Fragata is a tricky spot for hatchlings - predators, human disturbance and huge surf to swim through!

Only three nests left on the beach now. We anticipate the final one will hatch on December 29th.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Josh Angulo's lights

The wind is back and the beach near the Sab Sab (Surf Beach/Leme Bedje/Praia Antonio de Sousa) is buzzing with activity. This tiny little beach had 26 nests on it this year, making it an extremely important nesting site and one of the few remaining places on the south of the island that can still be used by turtles. Light pollution is the biggest problem and the biggest light was the floodlight at Josh Angulo's surf shack. Some of you may remember the disagreement we had with Josh over this and to our great disappointment the light was left on all summer, causing the death of many endangered loggerhead hatchlings.

Last night Neal and I went for dinner at Papaya's and looking out towards the beach - guess what? Pitch black on Surf Beach. No floodlight at all. Is that what you would call ironic? Or is there another word you might use?

Friday, December 11, 2009

In situs with Peter & Linda

Went off up to Serra Negra and Mont Leao with Peter & Linda and Linda's mum and dad, Betty & John yesterday (and Neal of course!)

We had one nest to find in Serra Negra which we did. It was a trans-situ (moved by us from one part of the beach to another) and unfortunately, another example of poor hatching success of trans-situ nests. At the moment we don't understand the reason for this, but we have plenty of theories. Unfortunately the majority of the eggs in this nest did not develop at all and only around 20% of the eggs hatched and went to the sea. We hope to do a study next year to help to understand possible reasons for this problem which occurs on all of our beaches.

Better news in Mont Leao at least, where we had 5 nests to find and we found them all. Three nests did very well but the last two had roots growing through the eggs, very strange to see turtle eggs all covered in hairy roots! One of the nests had three hatchlings still inside so we were able to rescue them and we found one unlucky hatchling who had emerged from the nest only to get stuck in a small bush nearby. His luck changed that day and if we hadn't come along he would probably have dehydrated and died by today.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Last nest hatches!

Not quite the final nest of the season - that nest, on Kite Beach, won't hatch until the 19th December or later.

The last nest in the hatchery, however, hatched on the night of the 5th December and was excavated the following day. It was a really small nest - only 33 eggs - but the hatching success was good - 23 out of 33.

Now the hatchery looks very strange - as if we are back to the beginning of the season, waiting for the first turtle!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The last nest in the hatchery

We were all holding our breath waiting for the last nest in the hatchery. All the nests hatched faster this year (hotter temperatures probably) but Nest 149 was taking longer than most. We hoped it would start on the night of the 3rd, Joe's last night, but nothing doing, only a few heads seen 20cm down. Nothing all day on the 4th either, but then when Stephen and Lauren went to the hatchery at 4pm, there were little heads poking out of the sand. More than two hours of sitting and staring at them (watched kettle and all that...) did not convince the little turtles to leave their nice warm home. As I write this, I am assuming that they made an appearance some time in the night and today will be the final hatchery excavation.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Unique Christmas Gift

It’s not too late to send your friends and family a unique gift from Sal.

Hatchlings will continue to be born during December so you can still adopt a turtle baby as a Christmas gift.

For a minimum donation of €10 the recipient receives a Christmas Certificate of Adoption as well as photos of their hatchling being released into the s

We also have tshirts (adults/kids €15/€10), hoodies (€30), caps (€15) and environmentally friendly cotton bags (€10). All profits go directly towards protecting turtles in Cape Verde. For more information email