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 12, 2011

Shark specialist needed

We are looking for someone with experience of working with sharks.  See our job blog for more information.

Ecotourism could save turtles in Cabo Verde

In an article published in national newspaper, Expresso das Ilhas, our colleagues Natura 2000, who work in Boa Vista, suggest that the problems of hunting of turtles could be solved through ecotourism and the development of the country.  The full article can be read here

Sunday, December 4, 2011

First cruise ship passengers to visit Sal love turtles!

On Thursday 1 December we were very pleased to be invited to give a lecture on the Island Sky the first cruise ship to dock in Sal since the port at Palmeira was extended.

The small (for a cruise ship anyway) ship, operated by Noble Caledonia has a capacity of only 114 passengers and the majority of the 80 or so on board came to hear about the turtles in Sal.

The presentation covered biology and life cycle, threats to turtles worldwide as well as information about the situation on Sal and the rest of Cape Verde.

The cruise shippers were a wonderful audience, asking lots of great questions and they were obviously moved by the plight of the turtles, with one guest even suggesting that they make a collection to help the cause.
Naturalist Guy, Cruise Director Andrea, the Captain & Emma
It was a great night for our small team that still remains and it was hard to leave the ship as they set sail for the Ascension Islands directly after the talk.  I think we can safely say there are lots more turtle advocates after that night!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turtle freed from fishing debris on Sal

If ever there was a prime example of the problems faced by marine life from fishing debris being thrown overboard or cut loose by fishermen, this is one.

The vast majority of the rubbish that we collect on the east coast of Sal is discarded fishing line and plastic items such as bottles and other containers that are used as floats by fishermen.  Turtles and other animals get entangled in this rubbish as it drifts through our oceans and without a good Samaritan to free them have little hope of surviving.

This turtle was found by chance on the rocks near Igrijinha last week as a holidaymaker called Judith passed by.  The net was entangled in her back flippers and the plastic container made it impossible for her to dive or swim, she had been thrown up on the rocks by the waves.  Fortunately Judith was able to remove the net and floats and stressed and tired the poor turtle managed to crawl across the rocks until a big wave came and took her out to sea.

This turtle is not our usual loggerhead which nests here, but is a juvenile Olive Ridley, a type of turtle that we don't get to see very often but is present in the sea around Sal.

Really nice work, Judith!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The season's not over yet!

The last excavation in the hatchery ended in a spectacular way when Nest 91 started hatching as soon as we arrive.  To the delight of the large crowd 38 babies spilled out of the sand, making a total of 67 hatchlings born in total (29 during the night) - an excellent success rate of 80%.

It's not over yet though, we still have around 130 nests on the beaches of Sal, on Costa Fragata and Serra Negra, so the Rangers will continue their patrols, making sure the hatchlings get to the sea safely and collecting data that will help to improve our success rate.

The last nest is on Costa Fragata and will have incubated for 57 days on the 23 December so there is a good chance of baby turtles for Christmas!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Beach clean this Sunday

Following last month's great clean on Costa Fragata, the next beach to get some attention is Serra Negra.  The rubbish in the last few weeks has got out of control, mostly from plastic and fishing net that has drifted in with the big tides, but sadly there are also several big piles of beer bottles from party goers.  facebook event

Join us if you can Sunday from 8am until some time after lunch (including some time to swim, eat, relax).  If you need help with transport just send us an email or call 974 5020.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fisherman tries to sell live turtle in Santa Maria

Thank goodness for the ears and eyes of friends of the project - through good luck we were able to return this juvenile turtle to the sea and save it from an unknown fate.  A local tour guide saw a quite well known man carrying the turtle around the streets of the town close to the pier, trying to sell it.  Initially he refused to give it up, but after the tour guide threatened him with the police, the turtle was handed over and finally given to two of our Rangers. 

Years ago this kind of thing was common as well as kids selling hatchlings to tourists, but now we are happy that there are many more people who want to save the turtles and will make a stand when they see wrongdoing.

Happily the turtle was fit and well (apart from a missing rear flipper which shouldn't hinder it) and the minute it was in the water it took off so fast we didn't even see it go!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Conservation efforts on Maio

The all female Maio team!
A few days in Maio earlier this week filled us with hope for a good management plan for the turtles next year.

Maio has really suffered as the forgotten island in terms of turtle conservation as, despite the City Hall's programme of monitoring & guarding turtles, there has never been a consistent and well coordinated project.  

This year the City Hall, ACCC (a study on climate change) & Natura 2000 all patrolled and collected data but there was no overall coordination in order to ensure consistent methodology.

Joao, a guard during 2011 explains his work
In the past few years the City Hall has paid guards from outlying villages to patrol the beaches and collect simple data (number of nests & tracks and number of turtles killed).  The funds for this activity comes from the DGA (General Directorate of the Environment) and this has been supplemented with training and equipment from ourselves, Natura 2000, Biosfera I and others.

Turtle nesting beach on Maio
The situation on Maio is critical, since it is believed to be the second largest nesting area in Cape Verde, but there is very little data available.  The number of turtles being killed each year on the land and in the surrounding sea is unknown but believed to be very high and the amount of nests stolen is probably the highest of any of the islands here.

To see what can be done to improve the situation, SOS Tartarugas arranged a visit which included a representative of the US Fish & Wildlife Service, a very important funder of turtle conservation in Cabo Verde.  During meetings with the City Hall and the Foundation for Biodiversity in Maio, it seems as if an overall management plan can be developed and implemented in 2012.

The salina on Maio, a very important biodiversity site
The Foundation is a very important partner for SOS since they are already well integrated in the community in Maio and will be able to coordinate and communicate with all the interested groups and individuals.

Not only will this brand new foundation work in turtle protection, but they are already deeply involved in the preservation of habitat and other species on the island.  One of the most important projects is research & conservation of the Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus.  (For more information about this important work follow this link).
The Sogei resort with the sea on the left & salina on the right
 This small bird nests on the ground following the seasonal rains and the salina on Maio is very important habitat for them.   Unfortunately for the environment, development has reached Maio and the residential/hotel development is situated in a small strip of beach between the sea on the left and the salina on the right.  The construction is going very slowly because few people have bought properties, however the impact on the birds and other wildlife has already been very serious. 

The little scrape of sand that is a nest
The Kentish Plover nests on the ground, making a tiny scrape in the sand and is extremely vulnerable to predation.  This photo shows the last remaining nest which on our visit was found to be predated.

The foundation has many difficult hurdles in their path, with not only these two species to protect, but many more and they face the prospect of the same extensive loss of habitat as here on Sal.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Kids turn into conservationists!

It is so rewarding to see the fruits of the SOS Tartarugas programme for children.  Yesterday two young boys brought us a six week old hatchling that a friend of theirs was keeping in a water bottle in his house.  A couple of years ago it was really common to see kids walking around selling hatchling to the tourists in Santa Maria and there are still many turtles that are kept in houses (sometimes in very poor condition).

These two lovely boys from Noz Kasa had attended the workshop with Joana and had learned that it is much better to put the turtles in the sea right away.

Maria, Albert & Berta went with the kids to wish the turtles a safe journey and afterwards they received a certificate of adoption for their turtle and even got to give it a name.  They also like the Haribo reward!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Slow start but finishing strong

In June we were sitting around twiddling our thumbs waiting for the turtles to make an appearance, by August we were working flat out.  2011 has definitely been the strangest year so far.  We didn't know whether the late start would mean a late finish or whether it was just going to be a very low year.  Turns out that the turtles decided they would stick to the end date but just get really busy in August.

It's not quite over yet, but so far we have had 200 more nests than in 2008 and 50 more than in 2010.  The biggest change has been in the location of the nests - as the turtles head further north to find undisturbed beaches.

Another interesting fact is that we have had a much higher ratio of nests to tracks - 40% compared to the more usual 30%.

So far there have been 5,000 hatchlings born (2,500 in the hatchery)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


It's nearly impossible to get every member of our family together in one place for a photo, but on Sunday we tried!
In this picture are some of the international Rangers from overseas but also our great volunteers who live in Sal.  

As anyone who has worked with us knows, it is a punishing schedule, working six nights a week for four months, walking up and down the beach for hours. 

The resident volunteers who dedicate one or two nights a week to patrol alongside full time Rangers and then go to work the next day fill those gaps on our rota that mean we can patrol even more beaches and save even more turtles.  Not only that, but they bring a fresh enthusiasm that enlivens some very tired people!  Alongside the Rangers and the volunteers we rely on our great Capeverdean contingent who find employment with us, but more than that, fight the cause by spreading the word about their work amongst their countrymen.

To those who didn't make it on Sunday (the Rangers in camp, Antonio, Steve M, the Salter family, Peter and Linda, Isabel and Vaughn, Vickey) - don't worry we'll get you sooner or later!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Nice feedback from our lovely visitors

It's always great to know that your work is appreciated so here are a few emails we have received from recent visitors to Sal.

Sent: 15 September 2011 19:02
To: Neal Clayton
Subject: Re: Muckel the turtle

Thanks for the mail ... It was really impressive to see how loving you all you care about the turtles.
It's good to know that you are. We hope to hear from you again.
Good luck and see you soon,

Wolfgang and Ilona

Sent: 18 September 2011 08:14
To: 'Neal Clayton'
Subject: AW: Schildi the turtle

Hello SOS-Tartarugas-Team!
Thanks for photos and help to save our envirement. It’s a very important job for th world.
Best regards from Austria.
Sent: 21 September 2011 10:49
To: Neal Clayton
Subject: Re: Chayla the turtle

Hi Neal, 
            Thank you for the email on chayla, I foward it onto my neice with same name, she is 9yrs old and thinks it is awesome, Chayla took the certificate and photos to school where her teacher showed her class, her teacher have asked Chayla if they could track it, she said could'nt, so he have asked Chayla and the group on her table to do research on the turtles, I have looked on the internet and there are so many sites, I am hoping you can recomend a site that would be suitable for Chayla's age group, thank you. 

Sent: 20 September 2011 07:08
To: Neal Clayton
Subject: Re: Becki the turtle

Hi Neal,

thank you very much for the pictures.
I work in a travel agency and I will tell all my clients who go to Cabo Verde to adopt hatchlings, too!

Have a nice day.

Best regards


Precious words like these help to keep the Rangers going when the work is tough and the hours are very long!  Thanks everyone.

Free the quad!

One of the biggest challenges of the project is reliable transport.  Both in terms of our own and also finding taxi and pick up drivers who are willing to work at night (and don't fall asleep when they are supposed to be collecting people for patrol!)

During the first couple of years we relied on one quad which somehow made it through to Year 4 until it was stolen.  In Year 3 this was supplemented by the purchase of an ancient Land Rover, the only thing we could afford.  Big mistake.  Charming it may be but reliable it isn't.  It has definitely spent more time sitting rusting outside the house than actually on the road.

This year we splashed out, took out a loan and bought a pick up - second hand but still in pretty good shape.  Must be us then because that has also spent an unfeasible amount of time in the garage.  Since good mechanics are hard to come by each time a vehicle goes to a garage we know it is going to come back with the original problem fixed (maybe) but one or two additional problems caused by not putting it back together properly!
Innocent of all crimes but locked up in the port
The final frustration this year involves the purchase of a quad bike from the UK.  Here it is pictured in April in the yard of the dealer.  And that is the last time we have seen it.  A normally smooth import process has been turned into a deluge of paperwork and confusion and the quad has been sitting in the dock at Palmeira since June, effectively missing the entire season for which is was bought.  The problem?  The quad was used on a farm in Wales and not road registered, therefore there was a suspicion that it was stolen since no papers existed from the relevant UK authority.  Not only that but the dealer put the wrong chassis number on the original paperwork!  Thank goodness for Cape Verde Imports's endless patience and efficiency with the process or I might really have gone mad.

Yesterday I took another (hopefully final) trip into Espargos to sign the 'last' piece of paper and now am hopeful that we may see the quad this side of Christmas.  There's still a small amount of time for it to be useful!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Second wave of turtles arrives in Sal

At this time of year, Week 15 of our nesting season, we are all thankful that the activity starts to die down a little, there are less hunters on the beach and we don't need to work as hard.  Naturally we also have a smaller team than we would do at the peak of the season.

Not this year though!  We have the decreased number of Rangers that we usually have but the amount of turtle tracks and nests has risen this week, not declined!

As you can see by the graph above, in every other year by the 18 September the line is going down.    The red line, whic shows 2011 is going UP instead - we had almost a 50% increase in tracks this week compared to last.

On top of that, during the last week, we have also seen lots of untagged turtles.  Normally we would expect to be seeing the same turtles that we have seen all season and have therefore already tagged.

Just goes to show that no amount of planning will ever prepare us for what the turtles have in store!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

SOS participates in Sustainable Tourism Workshop

What is sustainable tourism?  One definition could be minimising negative impacts tourism has on the destination while maximising the benefits for the local population.  Benefits could include better standards of living, employment, improvements in health care and infrastructure. 

In a workshop organised by TUI and held at the RIU Funana yesterday, delegates considered whether tourism has had a negative or positive impact on Sal so far and how to improve the situation.  Some of the negative impacts identified included
  • destruction of the environment (erosion of the main beach, aesthetic qualities lost due to construction)
  • increase in sexual tourism
  • increases in crime
Algodoeiro beach during construction of Melia Tortuga
Delegates, including the Minister for Tourism & other government officials, several associations and representatives from hotels and tour operators also considered threats to the development of tourism and what interventions could be used to limit these threats.

The Minister for Tourism opens the meeting
Almost every factor that restricts tourism on Sal seemed to come back to a combination of lack of political will and a lack of investment in infrastructure.  It was agreed that there was a need for more investment in facilities such as health care, security from crime (for tourists and residents), education and training, improvements in roads and more secure supplies of water, electricity and sanitation.  Time was also spent discussing the need to increase the understanding of 'service' as opposed to 'hospitality', since despite the welcome and warmth tourists receive, the service can be quite poor.

Of course on Sal, many people consider that no benefit is brought at all to the local economy and population through All Inclusive hotels.

It is hard to say if at the end of this initiative, which is being organised by TUI with The Travel Foundation, there will be any positive changes.  A lot seems to hang on whether the government will take the initiative or not or whether TUI and other companies will enter into Public/Private Partnerships in order to stimulate the much needed improvements to this island.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Driving on the beach

We are relatively lucky on Sal that since we started work in 2008 the majority of quad & car rental companies supported the campaign to stop driving on beaches.

Driving on any beach at any time of the year is illegal since it damages the fragile coastal and dune ecosystems.  More specifically it causes problems for nesting turtles by destroying nests and compacting the sand and making it impossible for turtles to dig nests.  Moreover, it creates ruts that turtle hatchlings cannot find their way out of.  Even worse, during hatching season there is a real possibility of killing baby turtles by driving over them.
Killed by a quad bike driving illegally on a beach
Caboquad, based in Santa Maria have stickers on all their quads stating it is illegal to drive on beaches and there on 'No Vehicle' signs on all the beaches, yet despite that, some people choose to ignore the law.

However it is nothing compared to the wholesale disregard for this law that is happening on Boa Vista.  Our colleagues from Turtle Foundation report that "guides serving the Marine Club in Sal Rei drove at least 8 cars through Curral Velho beach, destroying nests on their way to the nearby beach of João Barrosa, ironically to show nesting turtles at night time..."  (Read more here)

Publicity photo from Quadland's website
It's really sad that companies such as Quadland feel no shame in actively promoting driving on the beach and thereby destroying the natural beauty of Boa Vista which is the very thing that tourists want to see.

Time for a wake up call maybe?

If you go on an excursion please object if you are taken on the beach (there are plenty of routes at the back of the beach) and report the offenders to the police or to Turtle Foundation.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Turtle Festival / Festival das Tartarugas

What an amazing morning we had on Tuesday.  More than 100 children and numerous adults paraded through the streets of Santa Maria in celebration of Cabo Verde's turtle heritage.  One of the final events of our summer education programme, the children, who came from Santa Maria, Espargos and Palmeira, had worked hard to prepare turtle costumes to wear.  The final touch was having turtle motifs painted on their faces by SOS Rangers and volunteers.

Led by Tojo and the drumming group, Raios Vermelhas everyone walked, skipped and danced through the streets much to the delight of both residents and visitors.  The children also distributed information about why improper lighting affects turtles so much.

Many thanks to our partners Châ Matias, Noz Kasa and the community of Palmeira for making this such a special day.

Please follow these links for video and photos of the day:
A short video from national television RTC
Photos of the parade
Photos of the summer programme

RTC will broadcast a programme about SOS Tartarugas tonight (2nd September) at 19h.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Turtle Festival / Festival das Tartarugas

The culmination of our kid's summer programme will see 100 kids parade through the streets of Santa Maria in the turtle costumes they have made.

The parade will start at 10am at the Cultural Centre accompanied by the kid's drumming group "Raios Vermelhos".

No âmbito do programa educativo “Oficinas de Verão” vai-se realizar na próxima terça-feira, dia 30 de Agosto, o Festival das Tartarugas. O Festival terá inicio pelas 10:00 h no Centro Cultural e conta com um desfile de máscaras, animação musical pelo grupo de batucada Raios Vermelhos, pinturas faciais e bancas informativas da SOS Tartarugas na praça.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Big Three is back!

Big Three (tag numbers UUC830 & 831) is very special because everything about her is SUPERSIZED!

She was first seen on Costa Fragata (east coast of Sal) on the 28 August 2009 and tagged by Neal and Mariel.  Then again on the same coast on 9 September (seen by João) and finally on 21 September seen by Lauren, Joe & Leah.

All of her three nests hatched well with an emergence success of 84% for the first, an incredible 94% for the second and 76% for the third.

This year she was seen on the same coast and the same section of beach on the 18 September and once again nested succesfully.  How amazing would it be to know where she has been for the intervening years?

What are the BIG THREE?
1. She lays huge nests - 90 eggs, 116 eggs & 116 eggs (average 80 for other turtles)
2. Carapace length of 101cm (usual average 82cm)
3. Carapace width of 94cm (usual average 78cm)

Can't wait to see her again.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ready for baby turtles...

The cages are on the first few nests in the hatchery which means it is nearly hatchling season!
We need cages on the nest so that if they hatch while we are not there the hatchlings don't waste precious energy running around the hatchery.  Rangers check the hatchery every two hours throughout the night.

The second reason is that sadly the hatchlings get eaten by both cats and dogs, so as the cats have become more adept at getting into the cages, we have also had to reinforce them with secure lids.

Nests take around 54 - 60 days to hatch, so Nest 1 could be hatching around the 21 August.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Say goodbye to turtles on the west coast of Sal?

After an incredible night on Serra Negra on Saturday with 9 turtles followed by Sunday with 11 turtles we had a quick look at the data to see if this unusual amount of activity was replicated on Sal's other beaches.

Sadly, the answer was no, in fact the west coast of Algodoeioro, the area with all the new resorts had barely one track over the two nights.  Turtles choose dark beaches and despite the willingness of the resorts to make some small changes to improve the situation, it may be a case of too little too late.  The RIU hotel is a fine example of low impact development, it is set back from the water and has no exterior lighting visible from the beach.  Unfortunately the same cannot be said further up the coast as planning permission was given for lit walkways, street lighting & exterior lights very close to the high water mark.
Lights from Paradise Beach
The sharp decline in nesting in this area is immediately obvious from the graph below.  Although we will have to wait for the end of the season before knowing the final percentage of nests, it can be seen that Algodoeiro has gone from 32.9% of nests to a paltry 13.82%.

Serra Negra is the one area on Sal that suffers hardly any light pollution (although the glow from Santa Maria is starting to intrude) and so an unusual number of turtles are being forced to forgo their usual beach and head there.

No problem?  Not really, because Serra Negra is a very small and narrow beach with problems of innundation and flooding - it is not really suitable for the density of nests we are seeing there now.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The return of Ryanne

You may remember the upside down turtle buried near Kite Beach in the hope we wouldn't find her (see earlier blog entry).  Thankfully Rangers were able to rescue her and return her to the sea.

Well we are really happy to report that she was seen safe and well again on Serra Negra on the 5th August.

She was originally tagged by Janice and adopted by the Morton family who visited us in 2009 and adopted a nest in the hatchery.  They have named her Ryanne and are coming back to Cabo Verde next month (now that would be an incredible story if they saw her!)

They sent us this lovely email
"Please thank the rangers on behalf of my family for the rescue of turtle "Ryanne", just been on the blog and seen all the pics of her rescue, we are proud to be involved with the great work you all do and are looking forward to seeing you all in September."

Remember turtles, Serra Negra, the site of our permanent camp, is THE place to be for safe and happy nesting!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Turtle surprises fisherman in the middle of the day!

Graciano, a resident of Santa Maria, was spending a relaxing Sunday fishing on Costa Fragata when to his great surprise he saw a turtle emerge from the water beside him!  The turtle walked along the edge of the water in front of him before heading inland a few meters and proceeding to dig a nest.

Grace has a brother who lives on São Vicente, who, by happy coincidence, participated in our conservation workshop for other islands only a few weeks before.  So Grace called Diolando and Diolando called us.  We thought it could be a joke but no, there she was at 4pm, quite happily digging her nest and not at all disturbed by all the people surrounding her.

Grace was very happy to assist with tagging and measuring the turtle before watching her safely back into the sea.  He chose to name the turtle after himself and was presented with a certificate of adoption.  Hopefully we will see her nesting again and be able to give more news about her.

Grace was very happy to witness a turtle nesting for the first time and sent us this message:

"Não têm de agradecer, pois fiz aquilo que qualquer pessoa que respeita a natureza teria feito. Proteger tartarugas é um dever de todos. Para mim foi uma glória ter assistido aquilo, pois pela primeira vez tive a oportunidade de ver uma tartaruga a desovar.   
Quanto ao nome, pensei em registar-lhe com a minha alcunha - "GRACE", isto porque quando a encontrei disse: - "Esta é a minha tartaruga..."

Um santo dia, e continua com "POWER" neste trabalho que para mim é um gesto nobre para com a natureza.

(Don't thank me, I did what any person who respects nature would have done.  Protecting turtles is a duty for all.  For me it was an honour to have witnessed it, for the first time I had the opportunity to see a turtle lay eggs.  

As for the name, I thought to record it with my nickname - "GRACE", this because when I said when I saw her  : - "This is my turtle ..."
A blessed day, and continue with "POWER" - to me this work is a noble gesture to nature.

Click here for a video of Grace nesting.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hunters vs Rangers in a battle for the turtles

There is always a period during the season where hunters are out in force and the Rangers are on red alert.  This year is no different.

Over the course of the last six days Rangers have saved three turtles and seen two dead turtles. 

The first dead turtle was found at a beach between Kite Beach and Serra Negra, an area that does not get patrolled regularly.  The police are fairly certain that they have the culprits since they left behind blood stained clothes which links them to the crime.

The second had been taken at Ponta Jelonga (near Igrijinha), a beach that we patrol all night and in the morning as well.  At first we were very confused as the turtle seemed to have come ashore on the rocks and we had not seen the really obvious drag mark, but then it became clear that this was a special case.  This turtle was in fact a male and had been taken at sea, landed by boat and brought ashore to be killed.  Every single part of the turtle had been taken except for the carapace (shell) which is unusual.  The tale, however, had been left attached and the length of it made it clear that it was not a nesting female.  The turtle was 92cm, a loggerhead male in his prime.

More photos here.

The first turtle to be saved was on July 21st on Kite Beach.  This turtle had been turned upside down and buried in the sand in the hope that we wouldn't find her.
Fortunately, although she was exhausted from her struggle to get up, she was otherwise unharmed and Rangers were able to get her back in the sea. 
More photos here.

Another turtle was found a long, long way inland by our friend and volunteer, Nelson.  The turtle had left Kite Beach and wandered inland for around 1km, almost reaching the main road!  Just before she got there someone had flipped her upside down and attempted to drag her away.  Fortunately Nelson was on his round island tour, found her and immediately called us.  Happily, the turtle was tagged and quickly returned to the sea.  How glad are we that we received a grant to buy a second hand pick-up.  Without that our work would be much, much harder.

More photos here.

As if that wasn't enough, we received a call at 3.30am on Monday from the Rangers on the beach near Paradise Beach (Algodoeiro).  3.30am!  When most normal people are tucked up in bed, not walking up and down the beach!  A group of hunters had been apprehended.  They had flipped a turtle and were about to take a turtle her back home to kill.  The turtle was to be transported on the back of a donkey.

This turtle was saved and the police are going to easily trace the owner of the donkey. 

It was only after she had returned to the sea that we realised that she had been interrupted while nesting.  Fortunately all the eggs were safe and were relocated to the hatchery for incubation.  Now the adopters of Nest 18 have a great story to tell about 'their' baby turtles!

More photos here.

This beautiful and lucky turtle has not yet been adopted.  Email SOS Tartarugas if you would like to name and adopt her.  You will receive a certificate and lots of information about her.  Plus, when she is seen ashore again you will receive an immediate update.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Turtle Odyssey Exhibition Santa Maria & Espargos

To celebrate World Day for Nature Conservation SOS Tartarugas is delighted to present the exhibition "Turtle Odyssey".

These beautifully shot photographs depict the story of the turtles struggle for survival in Cabo Verde.

The display will be at the Cultural Centre in Santa Maria until the 5th August and then in the Library in Espargos from the 16th to the 22nd August.

Thanks to our colleagues at Natura 2000 for the loan of the panels.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Using great art for social change

Came across this great project which features some beautiful murals brightening towns in Cabo Verde. 

Joel in Cape Verde

and connected to that a project to reduce rubbish

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Would you believe it? Another early hatching nest!

Another nest hatched on Costa Fragata on Monday night - taking us by surprise since we don't usually have baby turtles until the middle of August.  If the nest incubated for the usual time this means the turtle nested in late May!  A nest already hatched in June in the same area so it is always possible that it was the same early-bird turtle that laid both nests!

The indent is where the nest is
The nest hatched beautifully with every turtle emerging, but tragically EVERY hatchling came straight out of the nest and headed inland towards the lights  - the entire nest was lost except for one that the Rangers managed to find exhausted and dehydrated at the back of the beach.

Sadly all the tracks go the wrong way
Even on the east coast, an area with no tourism development, the light pollution can be very bad.  This nest was in a zone that is affected by large bright white, very tall security lights on the construction site of Dunas (The Resort Group).

So close to the sea but so distracted by lights