How Cape Verde is protecting the magnificent Loggerhead Turtle

Updated on Nov 15, 2022 by Ella Brundle

Blog > How Cape Verde is protecting the magnificent Loggerhead Turtle

The chance to see wildlife in its natural habitat is fascinating for many animal lovers out there and the possibility of seeing turtles laying their eggs is truly a unique experience!

In October, Suzanne and Karen from our product team had the amazing opportunity to witness a female Loggerhead Turtle lay her eggs on a beach in Southwest Boa Vista. This turtle was a little late laying her eggs, with the nesting season normally occurring from mid-July to mid-September, with eggs hatching from November to January. Loggerheads are one of five species that call the waters off Cape Verde their home, with Leatherbacks, Olive Ridley, Hawksbill and Green turtles sharing these beautiful seas. Loggerheads are the only species to nest regularly on the shores of Cape Verde and the local nesting population is the third largest in the world after the nesting populations of Oman and Southeast Florida. A turtle lays every two years and during the height of the laying season, the chance of seeing this daily activity is very likely.

The long, sandy beaches of Cape Verde make for a perfect environment for them to create their nests and turtle conservation is very important in Cape Verde, with law rangers protecting eggs from natural predators such as, crabs, birds and dogs. Sadly, poachers play a part in the demise of these wonderful animals, so, with the backing of the United Nations Environment Programme, Cape Verde can give these creatures a helping hand. Camps are set up from mid-May until the end of October, with rangers patrolling through the night from sunset to sunrise.

Cape Verde experience customers can have the chance to see turtles laying and hatching and witness this beautiful moment in nature. These excursions take out a limited number of guests to avoid disturbing the turtles, red lights are used to dim the number of lights on the turtles and minimise disruption. Your excursion will be with a licensed guide, who must book through the town's ranger to ensure that there is only a small group of visitors on each tour, so you can enjoy your once in a lifetime opportunity knowing you aren’t impacting this natural process.

Project Biodiversity

Project Biodiversity are a Cape Verdean non-profit organisation, and they are dedicated to protecting unique wildlife in Sal. Protection of the Loggerhead Turtle is at the forefront of their efforts, with teams of rangers, biologists and volunteers working tirelessly during each season to protect the species from the dangers that poachers and other human activities cause. After a 2-month gestation period, baby turtles hatch and make their way up out of their sandy nests and out to sea. Unfortunately, there are many obstacles they must overcome in order to make it to the ocean. Natural predators are one big obstacle; however, poachers pose a significant threat. To avoid poachers finding the nests and selling the eggs or sea-turtle meat for consumption, rangers will collect the eggs at night and move them to a secure location that is fenced, to minimise predator and human disturbance. From here the nests are monitored until they begin hatching and are then given a helping hand to make their way to the ocean. 

During their trip Suzanne and Karen sponsored a nest at the hatchery on behalf of Serenity Holidays! By making a donation we are now the proud sponsors of our very own nest, and we can’t wait to follow its journey. Tourists are also given the opportunity to sponsor a nest, with a donation made towards Project Biodiversity to ensure they can continue to carry out their exceptional efforts in protecting this species.

The best hotel for this experience is Orquidea Guesthouse for turtle watching.

And for a visit to Project Biodiversity stay in the top-rated Hotel Morabeza on Sal.



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