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Sea Shepherd and Biosfera celebrate as turtles return to Cabo Verde in record numbers

maandag, Sep 07, 2020

After six years of dedicated conservation efforts in Cabo Verde, and following a remote beach clean in 2019 ​assisted by the Bob Barker and her crew, Sea Shepherd’s partners at Biosfera have announced record numbers of Loggerhead  sea turtles returning this season to lay their eggs.

Loggerhead turtle heading back to sea after laying eggs.

“In this rather strange year 2020, some wonderful news brightens our daily life,” writes 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.”

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

“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.”

Before the beaches were cleared of marine debris, baby turtles had a difficult time reaching the water after hatching.
Jairo Mora Sandoval off Santa Luzia. Photo by Tony Fenn James/Sea Shepherd.
The Bob Barker's Captain Adam Meyerson and Tommy Melo of Biosfera at the 2019 beach clean-up. Photo by Tony Fenn James/Sea Shepherd.
Sea Shepherd crew and Biosfera volunteers clearing the beaches in 2019. Photo by Tony Fenn James/Sea Shepherd.

In addition to the material assistance, last year Sea Shepherd crew from the Bob Barker worked alongside Biosfera volunteers to clear away tons of plastic waste from the nesting areas (watch the video here).

“The combination of many years of volunteer passion and ship power is bringing sea turtles back to the beaches of Santa Luzia, a critical area of biodiversity off the African continent,” says Sea Shepherd Director of Campaigns, Captain Peter Hammarstedt.

Despite the limitations on the number of technicians in the field due to the Covid-19 crisis, the entire Biosfera team has been redoubling its efforts to monitor, protect the nesting sites and guide the turtles lost inland to the ocean. They are also extending their monitoring to the island of Sao Vincente. “Thank you again for your support, without which we could not give you such good news,” says a Biosfera’s campaigner.

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

Delen