SOS-SEATURTLES and TURTLE FOUNDATION join forces in the protection of loggerhead sea turtles at Boavista, Cape Verde Island.
Loggerhead turtles are, as all sea turtles, seriously threatened with extinction and are listed in Appendix one of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species).
On the Cape Verde islands is the world's third largest nesting population of the endangered loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta). In 2007 alone, on the island of Boavista around 1,100 female turtles were killed as they came ashore to lay eggs. This corresponded to about 15% of the total nesting population of the Cape Verde islands. On the beach, turtles discovered by hunters are turned on their backs, allowing the hunters to return later to kill the helpless animals. The slaughter is particularly cruel - the flippers are cut off, and the turtles are then cut open alive to remove the meat and internal organs. The turtle may take over half an hour to die.
In 2008, TURTLE FOUNDATION intervened and through patrols implemented on the nesting beach, the number of dead turtles was reduced by 70% from the previous years!
There are still some more of unprotected nesting beaches on Boavista. To save the remaining nesting population, it will be essential to monitor and protect these beaches on Boavista.
For the coming years, a steady expansion of protective measures is planned. The goal, all the remaining beaches will be protected by TURTLE FOUNDATION personnel and volunteers. Concurrently, intensive community education and publicity campaigns will be implemented, which will also involve and benefit the Local community.
Tourism is burgeoning in Cape Verde, and this provides the opportunity to expand eco-tourism to benefit both the local community and the turtles. Field trips to the nesting beaches allow local tour companies to profit from the live turtles, as well as to help raise funds for the protection. Locally produced turtle-related crafts also contribute to the sustainable economic benefit of live turtles.
Since 2008, the nesting beach has been monitored systematically from early July to late September with support from the Cape Verde military and in 2009, with participation from international volunteers, using nightly patrols. Here, the employees, volunteers and soldiers were stationed in the neighboring villages, which lie about 30 minutes' drive from the beaches. By this simple measure, the number of turtles killed was reduced by 80% in 2009. In the last two years the patrol activity was extended to all the beaches. With the success that the poaching could be reduced by 95 percent !!!
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