Sea Turtles Nesting in Cape Verde


Up to five species of turtles can be found dotted around the seas of Cape Verde's archipelago.

As the ducklings swim off into the sunset and the flowers shed their springtime bloom, it is clear that spring has sprung and the time has come for summer to welcome us with its warming embrace. With this shift in the seasonal calendar in Africa, a new source of life is brought crawling into Cape Verde like a little force to be reckoned with.

Yes, you’ve guessed it; the turtle nesting season has flip-flopped its way to the forefront of Cape Verde’s critter list. Springing into action from early June, these curious tough-shelled creatures make their way to the beautiful Cape Verde beaches to lay their little eggs in abundance.

Although up to five species of turtles can be found dotted around the seas of Cape Verde’s archipelago, only one species nests here: the loggerhead turtles. Home to an estimated 4,000 turtles, Cape Verde sits proudly as the third largest nesting population of loggerheads in the world.

However, with the precarious loom of poaching, pollution, egg-thieving and the ever-growing tourist industry, these turtles and their natural habitat have become threatened, endangered and, left to their own devices, on the way to possible extinction.  

Hatchlings released to the seaHatchlings released to the seaSOS rangersSOS rangersSea turtleSea turtleSea turtleSea turtleSea turtleSea turtleSea turtle crewSea turtle crew

As numbers of this unique species tragically dwindled, Capeverdian authorities, organisations and NGOs stepped in to implement preservation programs to protect the local land and help these sea-turtles survive through their nesting season. Through rigorous night patrols, beach cleaning sessions, turtle watching tours and purpose-built protection hatcheries, organisations such as Turtle SOS (SOS Tartarugas) operating on the island of Sal, have helped to put in place a protective structure to support the safety of these native turtles. And, with an educative outreach program, set up in conjunction with the local town hall, Sal aims to totally eradicate the resident poaching problem.

Following suit close by, the surrounding islands of Cape Verde have also become ardent supporters of the little nippers nesting nearby. In Boa Vista and Maio for example, local communities, youth groups and fishermen have all participated in the resident beach patrolling and turtle monitoring activities. And just recently, the Turtle Foundation working on the island of Boa Vista has set up a new preservation project to protect the newly nested sea-turtles along the 3km stretch of Varandinha Beach.

So how can we help? Doing our little bit to help these sea-turtles survive their nesting season is as simple and straightforward as joining forces with the Cape Verde’s local communities and organisations, supporting their endless efforts. Sponsor a turtle, join a beach cleaning team or participate in a night turtle watching tour, but whatever you do, make a visit the local hatchery in Ponta Preta during hatching season (mid-August to December), as the sight of these tiny little turtles will make it all worth the while!

For more information on sea-turtle protection call 00238 974 5019 or email, 100% of donations go directly to the turtle conservation on Sal and other islands without significant tourism activity.

Cape Verdean children with baby turtlesCape Verdean children with baby turtlesTurtle SOSTurtle SOSSea turtleSea turtleSea turtleSea turtle