Endangered species

Record numbers of Loggerhead sea turtles return to Cabo Verde to nest

written by Oceanographic Staff

After six years of tireless conservation work in Cabo Verde, environmental organisation Biosfera have shared the record numbers of Loggerhead sea turtles that have returned to lay their eggs this season.

Cabo Verde is one of the most important Loggerhead sea turtle nesting beaches in the world. In 2017 Sea Shepherd partnered with the locally-based Biosfera, to help protect this critical habitat.

Loggerhead sea turtle Cabo Verde

“In this rather strange year 2020, some wonderful news brightens our daily life,” wrote Biosfera campaigner Tommy Melo. “At the end of August, in the middle of the sea turtle nesting season on the deserted and protected island of Santa Luzia, the number of nests observed by our team far surpasses all the numbers recorded since 2014. We hope that these numbers continue to grow exponentially until the end of the season in October.”

The beaches of Cabo Verde, a remote island nation in the central Atlantic Ocean, are swamped annually by tons of discarded fishing gear and other plastic debris, which can often choke the Loggerhead mother and hatchlings before they make it safely into the ocean. In addition to the material assistance, last year Sea Shepherd crew from the MY Bob Barker, worked alongside Biosfera volunteers to clear away tons of plastic waste from the nesting areas.

“Sea Shepherd is committed to protecting turtles worldwide,” said Sea Shepherd CEO Alex Cornelissen. “Our ship, the Jairo Mora Sandoval, was donated to Biosfera to allow them to continue their important work protecting marine wildlife and particularly the turtles around ​​the islands of Cabo Verde.”

Loggerhead sea turtle Cabo Verde

Due to the global pandemic this year, there have been a limited number of technicians able to work out in the field. Despite this, the Biosfera team has been redoubling its efforts to monitor, protect the nesting sites and guide the turtles lost inland to the ocean. Biosfera is now expanding its monitoring programme to the island of Sao Vincente.

“It’s inspiring to see how effective a passionate group of people on a shoestring budget can be when protecting life in the oceans,” added Captain Cornelissen. “Sea Shepherd is proud of our partnership with Biosfera and is committed to continue this work.”

Photographs courtesy of Sea Shepherd Global.

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