Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Turtles nesting all over Boavista

Turtles are nesting in extraordinary numbers throughout Boavista this season, so much so that even the beaches around Sal Rei are receiving nesting turtles every night. 

This remarkable development deserves a special protection strategy.  The Turtle Foundation team was eager to get involved in this new challenge and support local initiatives! 

Mr Roque and a turtle track in Baia do Ervatao
 We recently met Mr. Roque, the guardian of Cabral beach, who for the past three years has been voluntarily protecting Cabral beach and Ervatao bay, a small rocky beach behind the hotel Marine Club.  Both beaches pose problems to nesting sea turtles.  Cabral is one of the busiest beaches for locals and tourists on the weekends.  Unfortunately, in addition to city light pollution, people drive and park their cars on the beach and quad tours pass through every day.  Ervatao Bay is hard to access and very rocky, but turtles do come to nest and spend a long time searching for suitable places to dig, making them easy targets for poachers. 

Because this is such a busy season, Mr. Roque needs help to protect these beaches, and the turtles, nests and hatchlings on them. 

In addition, Estoril beach has been also receiving regular visits from nesting turtles.  On this beach, besides the light pollution from bars, restaurants and hotels, there are quad tours compacting the sand, destroying the dunes and their vegetation and affecting nests and hatchlings.
Poaching activities of both turtles and eggs has already been recorded on these three beaches, heightening the risks for turtles and their offspring.

Praia Cabral





Cabral beach - nests and cars tracks
Barroso and Roque, Cabral beach
  
Turtle Foundation promptly began to help Mr. Roque and a group of vocal volunteers from Estoril beach (Rudy and Joao were the first ones!) to protect these beaches. First, we gathered people from Sal Rei and the surrounding regions interested in helping protect the urban beaches and their nesting turtles. We went for a survey in Ervatao Bay with Mr. Roque to count the activities. The following night, volunteers did the first night patrol. Mr. Roque and his volunteers (Nito and Rubens, from Sal Rei, and Eva and Amanda, from Turtle Foundation) went to these beaches in the night of August 1st to check the nesting activities and ensure the safety of any potential nesting turtle. 

Census in Ervatao Bay

This group engaged in the protection of the urban beaches close to Boavista's capital is still in need of volunteers for turtle protection patrols at night as well as help building nest protection to prevent them from being destroyed by quad bikes and other vehicles.

a protected nest, Cabral beach
If you are in Sal Rei and want to help, please contact Mr. Roque (+238) 994 49 66 or Turtle Foundation (+238)  955 69 51, or meet the team at the open air gymnasium in Cabral at 9pm, every night.

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