So far the 2011 season has been a slow one in terms of nesting. With just under 1,000 records in our beaches, and 398 nests, this has been a sharp decrease compared to previous seasons. However, the results in terms of the protection (our main goal), and the tagging program have been successful.
With only 4 turtles lost to poachers this season (half recorded prior to the beginning of the patrols), and 164 turtles tagged, the teams have remained optimistic, and in good spirits! Also, we had the first hatchlings just a couple of weeks ago, making night patrols and morning surveys a little bit more exciting.
Turtle nesting in Curral Velho beach.
Photo by João Barbosa
The team in this camp has been the most active. Curral Velho has the highest activity of all TF beaches, with 125 nests, Lacacão with 61 and Curralito with 42. A total of 542 records, and 263 sightings have been recorded in the data books.
Hatchery at Lacacão Beach, season 2011.
Photo: Turtle Foundation
The hatchery is now closed, with 35 nests inside. The first relocated nests of Lacacão beach, as well as many of the natural nests in Curral Velho have already hatched, and the team will now be busy determining the hatching success rate of the nests in different parts of the beach. Several students are still undertaking their research on Lacacão beach, studies including parasites, genetics, behaviour and abiotic factors affecting embryo development.
Boa Esperança Camp
After 2 months of continuous patrolling, the team is thrilled that there are still plenty of new turtles arriving every night, which could be an indicator that the season is far from slowing down. Since 2011 the beach of Água Doce is patrolled every night, yelding extremely positive results (meaning, no killings). The team there has so far tagged 44 individual turtles, and recorded 97 nests on the coastline between Ponta do Sol and the end of Boa Esperança for a total of 242 activities, and 140 sightings! Two volunteers are conducting a study to assess the inundation risk of the nests on this beach, and we are only waiting for the first hatchlings to emerge to start studying the hatching success rate here a well.
Fundo das Figueiras
The slow tendency for the season is mostly observed in the beaches of Canto and Norte, which yeld a very low activity rate. Yet, between the two beaches, the team there managed to identify at least 48 individual turtles, which is great! The work has mainly focused in securing not only the beaches that we usually patrol, but also the adjacent beaches, with regular patrolling now in the beaches of Gatas, Areia Preta, while the patrol in Canto beach has extended towards the beach of Porto Ferreira. Encounters with poachers have been plenty, however it is the project that so far has no casualties to report! In terms of activity, we report 35 nests in Canto (total of 68 activities) and 38 in Norte (total of 119 activities).
Good work everyone!!!!