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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Monday, December 27, 2010


Neal aka Santa
SOS Tartarugas delivered toys and presents to kids in hospital at Christmas.

Expresso das Ilhas report
Asemana report
Newborn with cuddly toys
Janine from Agir pelo Sal

Most people who know me know that I'm not great with any of the three things in the title!  I understand dogs better than kids (sorry!), I hate germs and sickness & can't look at blood and Christmas makes me run and hide!!

Melisa (SOS Tartarugas) hands out gift
Nevertheless we were happy to help NGO Agir pelo Sal (Action for Sal) to deliver toys and clothes to the children and babies in hospital on Sal on Christmas Eve. 

The toys were kindly donated by Mike Morgan and friends in Wales Morgan Office UK

Thanks to all who contributed, the kids were thrilled!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The last few nests....

One of the last nests on Costa Fragata hatched yesterday evening and by chance we were there to see it.  At around 17.20 when we got to the nest we saw six little heads poking out of the sand and within 20 minutes there were 73 frisky hatchlings racing for the sea.  I guess they came out a little bit early as it was so overcast and cool.  An amazing treat, it's really rare to be in the right place at the right time.

So Costa Fragata is almost finished, but still lots more turtles waiting to be born on Serra Negra!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The strangest turtle ever?

This oddly deformed turtle was given to us a few days ago after it was seen floating around just off Santa Maria.  It had lost two of its flippers, possibly in a shark attack and clearly could no longer swim.  The malformations included a really a shorterned, heart-shaped carapace which curved upwards at the edge, particularly at the rear and a large hump in the middle.

The veterinarian who examined the turtle suggested that the main cause was a calcium deficiency which may have been due to poor nutrition.

In Cabo Verde many people keep turtles at home, often in sweet water rather than salt and feed them an inappropriate diet.  A lack of sunlight and being kept in a small container would also be a contributing factor.  It is possible that this turtle became a victim of this practice.

Unfortunately its injuries were too severe for it to survive.

For more photos please follow this link

Monday, November 8, 2010

Scientific Paper Published : The Effects of Tourism, Beachfront Development and Light Pollution on Nesting Loggerhead Turtles on Sal, Cape Verde

We are delighted to announce that our research regarding the effect increasing amounts of beachfront development has had on nesting turtles since SOS Tartarugas started working in 2008 has been published in the magazine of the Zoological Society of Cabo Verde

Nesting beach July 2010
The research found that although hunting of female loggerhead turtles is still a  major issue, habitat loss and light pollution are becoming a more serious threat. Construction sites, hotels, apartment buildings and restaurants close to beaches, bright lights and illegal removal of sand are contributing to a marked decrease in the total number of nesting turtles on some beaches. In 2009, beaches on Sal experienced an average increase in nests of 200%, while the beach most affected by construction (Tortuga Beach, which, ironically, is named after turtles) saw a decrease of nests of 7.3% (from 19.1% of total number of nests in 2008 to 11.8% in 2010). This beach also recorded a much lower nest to emergence ratio than normal - only 17.6% of turtles  coming ashore here laid a nest compared to the more normal 29.9% seen in other areas.  This indicates a reluctance to nest due to light pollution and other disturbances.

Nesting has halved on areas of Algodoeiro since 2008 while nesting on the beaches Santa Maria has declined from 7% of all nests to only 3% in 2010. 

Even more alarming is the fact that 75% of nests had on Algodoeiro had to be moved in 2010 due to the threat of light pollution that would cause disorientation to the hatchlings at birth - this figure was much lower at 26% in 2008.  On the east coast only 9% required relocation to the hatchery for this reason.

The results indicate a trend towards turtles moving from established nesting areas to beaches with less disturbance.  However these other beaches have lower hatching success rates (such as Serra Negra which is subject to flooding) and higher mortality rates of nesting females as they are unpatrolled (northern beaches and in particular Mont Leão which accounts for 41% of all turtles killed on unpatrolled beaches).

Sadly, the beaches are bright but the future for turtles on Sal is not.

The full report can be read and downloaded here

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Turtles saved by Rangers

Now the season is coming to an end we are able to look back over this year’s data and see what we have achieved.  This year's tagging and recapture data shows we tagged 111 turtles.  We have seen two turtles that were tagged by SOS in 2008 meaning that the work we conducted in the first year of the project is already allowing the safe return of turtles for another year.
This year we have also recorded five turtles from projects on other islands, something we always find particularly exciting and interesting as turtles tend to nest on the same or similar beaches year after year.  However we are finding that here in Cape Verde turtles do wander and visit other islands.  Peach is a fantastic example of this, 17 days after she was tagged on Sal, she had made her way to Boa Vista where she was nested on Boa Esperança beach.
Out of all the turtles tagged this season 38% have been seen again and 36.9% have been seen laying two or more nests.
Every year there’s always one turtle who makes herself known more than the others, this year it was Spaghetti who was seen six times and laid three nests.
Horizonte and Squirt were the turtles Rangers saw nesting the most this year, both turtles laid four nests. Horizonte was tagged by members of a workshop held in July and every nest she laid was on exactly the same section of beach!  Squirt laid all her nests on Serra Negra, the busiest beach on Sal this year.  Squirt was also seen by a group of guests on one of our 'Ranger Experience' tour.
This year we saved nine turtles through direct intervention, all were found turned upside down by hunters waiting to be killed.   Seven of these turtles were saved in one exhausting week in August!   Many of them were seen returning more than once this season completely undeterred by their earlier experiences.
Chase was seen four times including the time she was saved.  She was seen nesting twice and her first nest was the day after she was saved. 
Upsey, Eurildo and Francesca were all saved on the same evening.  Both Upsey and Eurildo were seen nesting twice after.  Francesca was wise and made sure she wasn’t seen again!
Two nests laid by saved turtles have hatched and both were amazingly successful with 90% of the eggs developing into little turtles.
All in all, another remarkable season!  If you want to adopt and name one of our tagged turtles send an email to SOS Tartarugas

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A few more entries from our daily log...

During the season, the days vary so much, from full on, massive adrenalin patrols to peaceful, strolls on the beach and everything in between.  Here are a few examples of how our nights can be....

6/08/10, Costa Fragata 9pm-1am, Stef and Santi
The only thing on patrol tonight was an FCUing turtle spotted on Kite Beach, a few hundred metres after the shack. She wasn’t tagged. The rest of the patrol was non eventful, soldiers and poachers were totally absent.
08/07/10 Algodoeiro 3am-6am, Hattie and Sandra
I’d like to say that Sandra and I had a nice patrol full of turtles. Sadly this is not the case. At 3.35am we found something we didn’t want to find, a dead mama turtle. Her carapace, flippers, eggs and everything else the hunters decided they didn’t want were discarded around her, it really wasn’t a pleasant sight. We phoned the police but sadly they were unable to attend. We took some photos, and recorded the data measuring her carapace and took a GPS the location. Following this we carried on patrolling the beach recording another 5 activities and trans-locating one nest of 84 eggs into spot ten in the main hatchery.
10/07/10 Costa Fragata 9-1am, Stef, Janice and Fab
OMG call it an eventful night! So everything seemed quiet along the beach, strolled half way down Quarry and stop to check out a track that looked pretty fresh… I crawled up to the first pit noticing there didn’t seem to be a down track however the up track ended just after the dune, so I called Janice and Fab, with our detective hats on we started investigating…. TCSI (turtle crime scene investigation). After a while I decided to follow what seemed to be in the pitch darkness a drag mark. We walked down right into the back of the dunes when Fab noticed something moving, turned out to be the poor mama upside down! We were worried it may have been harmed but after turning our lights on we worked out she was still alive and completely fine. We phoned the emergency phone and waited for Neal to come and help, guarding the mama turtle. When Neal arrived she was tagged measured and flipped the right way and returned safely back to sea. The turtle named Lucky Kite had been successfully saved! We continued patrolling and later we saw two men where lucky Kite had been, we assumed they had come back for her, IN YOUR FACE POACHERS! Later that night on PJ we saw a mama turtle nesting. We are all very tired now and its time for the boys to take over, good night Lucky Kite it was nice to meet you!
27/07/10 Costa Fragata 9-1 Janice, James and Steve
We saw no turtles and no new tracks only tracks recorded by the tour earlier. We did see 6 men and a dog walking up the beach and behind the dunes where they sat down. As we left the beach 3 men and a dog left too. We informed the second patrol so they were able to keep and eye out. Yawn.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Join the SOS Tartarugas team in 2011

We need dedicated, committed, hard-working people to join our team in 2011.

By working with us you can make a real difference to saving nesting loggerhead turtles from becoming extinct in Cabo Verde.

We have many opportunities, paid and unpaid, ranging from the entire season to just a few days.

For more information please go to

Turtle Conservation Jobs with SOS Tartarugas

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

This year's SOS girlies

40 Cents, Alberta, Amazing Grace, Anna Mary Ann, Arianna, Atkins, Aurora Roja, Beckey, Bee, Beurocracy, Big Bertha, Burger, Camilla, Chase, Claudia, Dental De Tubarão (Shark Bite), Despedida, Dortora, Double Date, Duna, Eleanor, Eneda, Ermione, Eurildo, Extreme Madura, Flappin About, Flora, Francesca, Gamila, Gg, Gillie, Ginger, Giulietta, Goldilocks, Hilda May, Horizonte, Isabel, Itsma, Janice, Kiss, Kobe, Lady Sophie, Ladyneia, Lainey- Lou, Lola, Lory Meyers, Lovely, Lucia, Lucky Kite, Magdrugada, Marimar, Mascha, Melody, Misfire, Momo, Mutti, Nasas, Natalina, Pandora, Peach, Penny, Perfect Mary, Perranporth, Picaninho, Pitter, Pliedes, Poldina, Portia, Praia, Princess Fiona, Priscila, Pumpkin, Queen Elizabeth Ii, Rainha (Queen), Raquel, Remora, Rippa, Rizza, Rush, Sally, Sammy, Saoirse, Sarah, Schidpad, Servanda, Sidka, Silviani, Snax, Snoop Dog, Sofia, Sookie, Spaghetti, Squirt, Squish, Sweety, Teresa, Tiburanera, Tilly, Trulla, Turtletastic, Upsey, Vega, Viola, Wendy, Winmarleigh, Yve

107 female loggerheads tagged by Rangers on Sal island this year but we still have around 20 un-named turtles.  

If you would like to adopt an adult turtle it costs €30 and you will receive lots of information about your turtle (how big she is, where she nested and how many times and how successful her nests were).  email to arrange your adoption. 

Why not adopt a turtle for a friend or relative - it makes a great gift for Christmas.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bitten by the turtle bug

Mary and Fred Norgrove wrote to us before their holiday at the RIU.  They had seen a nesting turtle in Boa Vista on their previous visit and were keen to experience the same on Sal.  Unfortunately the timing was a bit off and we had already stopped our turtle walks.

Plenty of hatchlings were being born though and Mary and Fred became regulars at the hatchery each afternoon.  Soon enough Mary had heard Neal make his presentation so many times that she had pretty much memorised it and they were soon answering other visitors questions and even giving Neal's presentation to fellow guests over the dinner table!

They were so enthusiastic that when there was no excavation at the main hatchery they took a taxi to our second hatchery on the eastern part of Santa Maria so they could excavate the nest themselves!

Mary and Fred are planning to come back next year and be volunteers and we are looking forward to seeing them then.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mariel's thesis - Incubation of turtles on Sal

Congratulations to Mariel Murazzi who has just finished her Masters thesis and graduated from University of Pisa.  Mariel was with SOS Tartarugas in the summer of 2009 and worked tremendously hard as a Ranger in addition to doing the extra work required to complete her study.   The results of the study are very interesting and will make a real contribution to the conservation work we do.

The full title of the study is "Incubation Temperature and Risk Assessment Associated with the Transfer of Eggs on the Island of Sal". 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Environmental Crime in Fogo

The total destruction of the beaches in Fogo through the removal of sand is well underway and authorised by the Camâra Municipal.  It's against the law but they have decided to ignore that small point.  Of course it's bad for the turtles but it is bad for the entire island ecology as well.  Even if you can't understand the language of the report shown on Cape Verdean television, anyone can see that a continous stream of trucks digging out the sand on the main beach outside São Filipe is going to have a catastrophic effect.  Greed and short-termism at its most visible.

RTC Report on Sand Extraction on Fogo

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cabo Verde Explorer - now Turtle Friendly!

Driving on beaches at any time of year is illegal but at this time of year it is critical for a number of reasons:
  • The heavy weight of vehicles compacts the sand and prevents turtles from nesting (as can be clearly seen on Praia Antonio de Sousa where there were NO nests this year compared to 27 last year)
  • Ruts in the sand cause hatchlings to walk parallel to the sea rather than go towards the sea as they are not big enough to see which direction they should go in
  • Driving over nests crushes the eggs and at this time of year also kills hatchlings that are waiting just below the surface for night to fall.  
Tyre tracks going directly over a nest (10 dead turtles found just underneath the sand)
Nests on the beach will continue to hatch until the end of December.

So when we saw deep tyre marks almost the entire length of Serra Negra we were very worried.  The distinctive new excursion 'Cabo Verde Explorer' was driving guests over and very close to numerous nests (Serra Negra is the highest density nesting beach on Sal).

Following a meeting with the organisers we are delighted that the excursion has now been changed to a peaceful walk on Serra Negra rather than a drive. 

 Proprietor Luigi Papa told us "I welcome your clarification and since our meeting we now walk the beach of Serra Negra.... I also welcome your suggestion to provide us with your guide so that you can be sure that we do not drive on Serra Negra beach and so you can give tourists more information about the beach, turtles and your work.  (In addition, if you like, you can also ask them for a donation to your foundation). We are happy to work with you in our tours of Serra Negra" 

We like happy endings and thank Luigi for his cooperation - the turtles appreciate it!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Amazing bird sightings on Sal!

Alexander's Kestrel
On a slight tangent, we had a pool of water near the hatchery for some weeks after the rain.  A guest from the UK, Steve Payne who had his telescope with us was kind enough to share his bird sightings.

For 14 days between 14 - 28 September this is what Steve recorded:

At the temporary pools at the rear of RIU hotel
Black Winged Stilt
Kentish Plover
Ringed Plover
Grey Plover
Little Egret
Alexander's Kestrel
Grey Heron
Purple Heron
Yellow Wagtail
Turtle Dove

At other locations
Kentish Plover
Greater Hoopoe Lark
Bar Tailed Desert Lark
Iago Sparrow
House Sparrow

Who knew?!!!

No all we need is a bit more rain each day and to persuade the RIU not to fill up the pool with diesel after they have finished pumping all the water out of the hotel!!

Thanks for sharing the information Steve.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Miracle Turtles Born

One day around four weeks ago some guests at the RIU hotel were walking on the beach and found one or two turtle eggs.  Looking around they realised that due to an exceptionally large swell there was an entire nest about to be swept into the sea.  Rushing up to the hotel they were given a black plastic bin bag and they quickly put the eggs inside and handed them to the receptionist.  Unfortunately that's where they stayed all day!

Around 4pm the brother of a driver that we work with somehow obtained this unlikely package and around 5pm he brought them down to us at the hatchery.

Looking inside Neal didn't hold out much hope for them.

Several weeks in the sand, washed over by waves, inexpertly bundled into a black plastic bin bag, sitting on the floor in an air-conditioned room all day.... could any hatchlings really be born after this?

Well, we'll try anything!  So the team put them into the hatchery and we all stopped worrying about them.

12 nights later and none of us can believe it - a solitary hatchling was born.  We waited impatiently another day, nobody daring to hope more would be born - but we were wrong!  The following night another 24 were born!

We estimate that this nest of 59 eggs was laid by the turtle on the 13 August and spent 40 days on the beach before being relocated.
Later that night on 5 October 2010, 25 miracle baby turtles were released into the sea in front of a cheering group of guests and Rangers.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The killing fields of Mont Leão

SN = Serra Negra, AL=Algodoeiro, CF=Costa Fragata, ML = Mont Leão
As the nesting season draws to a close, we have time to reflect on both successes and things that did not go so well.  One of the disappointments in 2009 was the number of turtles killed at Serra Negra and one of the main objectives for 2010 was to make sure that this critical beach was well protected.  Happily, despite severe transport issues, (a Landrover that rarely runs, a three year old quad bike and our back up quad bike stolen by joyriders and destroyed), we managed to cover this beach throughout the night and the number of turtles killed was dramatically reduced.

One of the season's last nesting turtles brutally killed on Mont Leão
The story was not so happy on Mont Leão however, an area we used to patrol regularly with the help of the Camâra Municipal who provided a driver.  This year a driver was not available but they did provide some cover with the military.  The number of turtles killed on Mont Leão this year are shocking and are probably not the whole picture - some would have been taken away by pick up and we have found many shells buried.  One of the problems is the lack of suitable habitat since the ground has become rock hard with so many cars driving there, this means the turtles spend a long time ashore looking for a place to lay - giving hunters plenty of time to find them.

Another worry is that more and more turtles are being driven to this beach as the areas further south on Algodoeiro become less and less available because of construction and lighting.  It has been proven that turtles will choose less suitable habitat if their usual beaches are not available.  So while it seems that there are still enough beaches on Sal for turtles, the beach with the best conditions has always been the southwest and the beaches they are now forced to choose are much more hazardous and may not have a very good hatching success rate.

Eggs that were still inside the turtle are taken from the oviduct
Blood drained from the body to be drunk later
In a somewhat random event,  two of our Rangers were unfortunate enough to witness the death, at Mont Leão, of one of the very last turtles of the 2010 season.  The yellow undeveloped eggs, which are the eggs preferred by people on Sal, were being collected and the blood was being decanted into a bottle.  The blood, we are told, is added to wine as an aphrodisiac.

Mont Leão will be a priority for 2011 if we can work out a way to have more reliable transport and how to support more volunteers and soldiers at this beach.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fishing net nearly kills hatchlings

Here's a perfect example of why we try our hardest to get all the fishing net off the beach.  Not only is it a terrible eyesore, but it traps hatchlings in the nest and when they try to get to the sea.  Peter & Linda found this nest the day after it had hatched and these lucky babies were saved after much patient untangling.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

From Libby (aged 6)

Hi Neal

I am really happy about the number of turtles that hatched, the success rate of 94% is brilliant. Thank you very much for sending me the photos that you took of the baby turtles, I especially liked the one of the turtles heading towards the sea. I am going to print them and take them in to school to show my friends.

Me and my Mam and Dad think that you and your team are doing a great job in helping the baby turtles.

Thank you

Libby  (aged 6)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Friends of Calhau & FC Panthers start a protection campaign

News reaches us that Friends of Calhau, a small settlement on the east coast of São Vicente is starting a campaign to protect nesting turtles.

From September 1, 2010, the two associations will have a camp in Praia Grande with the aim of not only monitoring the species and protecting their nests, but also to raise awareness of the importance of preserving this species.

It is estimated that nowadays only 1% of Cape Verde's turtles are found nesting on São Vicente, a figure much lower than in previous years, highlighting the urgent need for more protection.

This activity is funded by the GEF (Global Environment Facility).

SOS congratulates our colleagues on this action and wish them every success! 
Amigos do Calhau

Hatchling season well under way

Hattie releases 43 newly born turtles
Yesterday was a great day if you like baby turtles!  During an afternoon patrol on the beach we found two hatched nests.  One still had 43 turtles inside, all of them trapped by a big rock in the middle of the nest. 

The second one had also hatched the previous night and a surfer called Clovis had found 12 babies at the back of the beach, all were dead from dehydration and exhaustion.  Tracing their tracks back, he had opened the nest and found another 35 inside and he immediately put them in the sea.  There were 25 unaccounted for and it was clear that none of them had gone the right way, but instead had followed the bright lights of Santa Maria and in particular the new residential zone of Antonio de Sousa. 

A hatch nest with tracks to the sea
Meanwhile at the main hatchery, a nest exploded with 50 babies during evening while there were still plenty of people around to watch.

At this time of year we have afternoon patrols to mark and find nests - you can clearly see when a nest has hatched as there will be a mass of little tracks - hopefully going towards the sea.  Anyone can join on these patrols, just send an email on if you would like to help.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Little turtles rescued

Thanks to Lacey from Blu Bar and her niece these hatchlings were safely returned to the sea in Santa Maria yesterday.  The little turtles were found wandering around in  Pedra da Lume.  The little girl was happy to see them go in the sea and will receive an adoption certificate to commemorate the occasion.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Project Vito forced to stop working on Fogo beach

One of our colleagues, Silvana Roque, who heads up the turtle conservation project on Fogo, has been forced to admit defeat on one of the main turtle nesting beaches.

Asemana report on Fogo sand mining

Sadly, the President of the Camara Municipal has authorised sand extraction and forty lorries a day are reported to visit the beach every day to destroy this vital habitat.  This is, of course,  against the law.   The President has also chosen to publicly attack the work done by Project Vito and to post guards on the beach to prevent turtles coming ashore.

In the face of this opposition, Silvana has decided to direct her attention to the other beaches on Fogo.  It seems that no one in government or law enforcement is prepared to stop this gross and immoral breach of the law, including the Minister for the Environment who was recently in Fogo.

Friday, August 20, 2010

78% success rate from the first hatchery nest

It's always an anxious wait during the days the first hatchery nest is due to hatch.  Did we do it right?  Is the sand ok?  Will we get any babies?!!

The nest started to dip in the middle (indicating movement below) some days ago but each night our checks revealed no little heads poking through, until finally on Wednesday at 21h just as the Rangers arrived at the hatchery the sand trembled and forty seven babies burst on to the surface.

The nest had incubated for 60 days which is average for the start of the season and the little turtles were released shortly after in front of our guests on the turtle walk on Algodoiero - an unexpected bonus for them!

The next day, in front of a full house, Neal explained our work while Hattie and Ben opened the nest to see what remained.  Luckily for everyone there, a further 13 hatchlings were still in the nest, giving a total of 60 turtles from 77 eggs (78% which is a great result). 

The nest was previously adopted by the Camara Municipal do Sal.

The next nest is due in a few days.

To see hatchlings, adopt turtles, book walks or meet the Rangers visit the hatchery outside the RIU beach between 16h and 18h every day.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Data so far shows decrease in turtles killed on Sal

The latest figures for June and July show that 2010 is slightly busier than 2008 but much lower than 2009.  However great progress has been made in decreasing the mortality of turtles and increasing the number of saved turtles.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hatchling season has begun!

The first two nests of the year have hatched.  Nest 1 in Surf Beach Hatchery began hatching on the 5th August 57 days after it was laid (average incubation period) and had a stunning success of 92%.  Congratulations to Tim at Rhooms who is now the proud Dad of 109 baby loggerhead turtles!

The second nest hatched last night with (so far) 46 hatchlings born at 11pm.  The lucky people on the turtle walk on Costa Fragata were able to see them go into the sea at the end of their tour.

Excavation of the nest will take place at 17h this afternoon for those on Sal who would like to see some hatchlings.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Euclides Gonçalves (City Hall of Sal) speaks out against leniency towards people killing turtles

Os ambientalistas estão inconformados com a forma como está a se lidar com os crimes ambientais na ilha do Sal. O protesto é contra a “impunidade” em que navegam os caçadores de tartaruga, que todos os dias caçam, matam, vendem e consomem esta espécie símbolo dos mares de Cabo Verde, entretanto em extinção no mundo.

De acordo com Euclides Gonçalves, director de saneamento da Câmara Municipal do Sal e um dos principais defensores do meio ambiente da ilha, até Julho mais de 426 tartarugas deram às costas do Sal para a desova. Destas, 26 foram mortas. Um número muito elevado para uma ilha que está há largos anos tenta sensibilizar as pessoas contra esta prática.
Segundo Gonçalves, que fala em nome de todos os ambientalistas do Sal, cerca de 12 pessoas já foram autuadas por crimes contra o ambiente, neste caso, pela caça de tartarugas. Até agora, afirma, apenas um julgamento aconteceu, envolvendo 3 suspeitos.
O pior, lamenta Euclides, “é que a estes prevaricadores só foram aplicadas multas de 10 mil escudos. E veja: se matam a tartaruga e vendem a sua carne por mais de 30 contos, acabam por sair no lucro, mesmo pagando 10 10 contos de multa”.
A sensação que se tem, diz o responsável pelo gabinete de saneamento da CMS, é de impunidade. “Usamos o dinheiro público para fazer o trabalho de protecção e preservação das tartarugas e os prevaricadores continuam a praticar este crime impunemente”, contesta. E aconselha: “Se calhar seria muito mais proveitoso puni-los com serviço social, ou até mesmo colocá-los nas praias, para junto com a organizações fazer o trabalho de protecção”.
Euclides Gonçalves aponta o dedo às autoridades, acusando-os de não se preocuparem com esta matéria de preservação das tartarugas, “símbolo do paraíso cabo-verdiano”. “Se não vejamos: para o Sal, este ano foram disponibilizados apenas 300 contos para o projecto de protecção e preservação das tartarugas. Recentemente, a Câmara do Fogo autorizou a apanha de areia em Fonte Bila, uma das principais praias de desova da ilha. Todos anos surgem obras grandes nas praias do país”. No fundo, completa Gonçalves, estes exemplos mostram o descaso com que as autoridades deste país estão a tratar o ambiente.
A pergunta que se coloca é: “vale a pena continuar a fazer esse trabalho, quando é pública e notória a destruição dos habitats, enquanto as autoridades parecem não estar nem aí para esta espécie rara no mundo, e que nós temos o privilégio de ter em abundância no nosso mar e nas nossas praias. Se calhar daqui a algum tempo vão pensar doutra forma. Só espero que não seja tarde demais”, lança o ambientalista.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Strange days indeed...

8.30am Phone rings, the police have a turtle in the station.  Fly out the door thinking it's a live turtle that has been recovered - no such luck - it's the remains of a turtle, everything but the meat which is already on it's way to be sold.  The night before, our Rangers alerted the military on the beach that there was a turtle taken on Costa Fragata, the military called the police and together they found the culprits.  Unfortunately it was too late for the turtle.  Once again we are required to take photos for evidence and to our dismay we see that one of them is a guy called Gongon, who was caught, fined and released only a couple of weeks ago.  So the entire system works except the judiciary who are giving paltry fines and sending the criminals straight back out with a suspended sentence.  Surely now, they will go to jail?

10am A call from the Camara Municipal - someone has reported that a turtle nest has appeared on the beach in front of Porto Antigo - it has a huge cage around it - was it something to do with us and should it have been left there?  Go round to see it and the mystery grows - it's nothing to do with us - how did it get there?  The Camara Municipal ask me to call the police since interference with a nesting turtle or the eggs is a crime unless you are authorised, but I ask for some time to find out the full story.

11am A third call, this time from Neptunus (yellow sub), they have a turtle, can we come right away.  Get down to the pier and climb aboard.  They have a female loggerhead turtle - she is obviously very sick with bulging eyes and abnormally yellow skin.  She was found floating around Ponta Sino, unable to dive down and clearly exhausted.  She needs to be assessed and given some time to rest.  Formulate a plan and the whole team swings into action.  Neal goes down to ask Josh Angulo if we can use their small pool, we are very happy that he agrees.  Someone else calls Fatima, our wonderful vet, who is always ready to help us.  Odessia (watersports company by the pier) kindly suggest the use of their quad and trailer to bring her to the road and Tony, a pick up driver is waiting to drive her to the far end of Santa Maria.  Meanwhile, Hattie, Chris & Carolyne are having all kinds of difficulties.  A man called Mingos will not allow any of our team near the turtle, shouting and screaming 'I know what you do, I know all about your project. this is my land, this is my turtle' etc etc.  By this time there are hordes of people surrounding the poor turtle.  The outcome?  Hattie is pushed out of the way and the turtle is returned to the sea to who knows what fate.  It had been explained to Mingos that the turtle was sick and needed help, but Mingos was determined to create a problem and stirred up a mini riot that we were powerless to prevent.  The only upside?  After thinks had calmed down, we found a few more sympathetic Capeverdian men who want to help.

Never a dull moment ....