Built in one of the most important nesting sites of the Loggerhead sea turtle in Cape Verde, Lacacão beach, its construction phase caused many environmental and social impacts in the island, and was the main reason why Turtle Foundation initiated a protection program here in 2009. With more than 500 construction site workers based at the construction site during the nesting season, poaching of the turtles was a recurrent problem, and very difficult to control. Despite our efforts, several dozens of turtles were slaughtered on this beach in the last few years.
As the construction is now completed, we hope that the poaching pressure will decrease. However new problems will arise, most importantly the impact of the lights from the hotel in the behaviour of nesting turtles and emerging hatchlings (Fig.2); removal of natural nesting sites for creation of leisure areas (Fig.3); obstruction to nesting females by beach furniture (Fig.4), easier access to the beach due to improved roads (Fig.5) (All images presented are from the new hotel, and were taken this week).
Over the last week Turtle Foundation staff participated in several meetings with responsibles from TUI and RIU, to try to find a effective collaboration in the mitigation of the impact of the threats mentioned above. This included the visit of an expert on the mitigation of light impact on nesting beaches from Florida, Mr. Erik Martin (from our blog: http://turtlefoundationcv.blogspot.com/2011/04/lighting-specialist-travels-to-cape.html), and the presentation of a detailed proposal. We will also carry out an intensive nest management program on this beach, as well as conduct a study on the impact of the lights on the behaviour of both nesting turtles and hatchlings.
The nesting season is due to start in about 1 month, and we are expectant to see whether the suggested measures will take place, and that the impact of this hotel will cause minimum impact on the nesting turtles and hatchlings. Please visit our blog for updates in the following months.
For more information about this hotel, the future Lacacão Golf and Beach Resort, and other related news, visit the following link: