Saturday, November 24, 2012

Turtle watching in Cape Verde - Rules and regulations needed

Awareness is increasing, that turtle-watching activities on the nesting beaches of Cape Verde are in need for better regulations in order to protect nesting turtles from over-exploitation and harassment by visitors. Recently first steps have been done in the right direction - please find out more in the following article, published on november 18 by capeverdian online newspaper A Semana:

TAOLA prepares ecotourism legislation proposal

The national sea turtle protection network TAOLA is elaborating ecotourism legislation proposals to submit to the government. On Friday, November 16, all of the network’s members met on the island of Sal with the proposals as the main item on the table for debate.

In TAOLA president Júlio Rocha’s opinion, ecotourism is disorganized in Cape Verde, at least in part due to the lack of specific legislation for the activity. And in the case of sea turtle watching “there are no regulations clearly defining who may provide this type of service or how to do it on our beaches.” For this very reason, “there have been constant conflicts between tourist agencies, as well as with conservation organizations.”
As such, the network is preparing proposals for analysis alongside the government and the Directorate General of the Environment. “We’re going to submit proposals for regulations, in which we may begin with a pilot project on Sal. Through these regulations, we’ll begin with a new approach, in which only those with specific training may promote these types of excursions,” he explains.
TAOLA, affirms Rocha, wants turtle observation activities to be an alternative for locals. “There’s also a certain degree of laxness with regards to the people who see turtle watching as a way of making money without thinking about the impact that it may have on the species. I think we’ll only be able to have an more aware population if the population itself benefits from the profits of its country’s natural products.”
Other proposals will be presented in terms of the application of the law prohibiting the hunting and killing of sea turtles, as well as in the area of inspections and surveillance. “There is a problem with the formalization of the law, which is open to various different interpretations and which often slows down court cases. In other words, lawbreakers are often not punished,” he says.
Surveillance are another weakness in terms of the protection and preservation of sea turtles, suggestions for the regulation of which the network is also analyzing. “There are major faults in surveillance. We have laws, but proper surveillance and inspection work is needed,” notes Júlio Rocha.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Final Festa in Fundo

Last weekend, it was time to say "Thank you and see you next year" to the community of Fundo das Figueras, where we had lived and worked for the past four months again. We invited the community members over to a farewell "Cape Verdian style" with plenty of Cachupa (hearty stew and the traditional national dish) and Funana (Cape Verdian dance and music style). Here some of the pics - the whole album you find on our facebook page.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

photo of our visit to Berau (Indonesia)

This is our team on the islands of Mataha and Bilang-Bilangan with visitors from Germany: (from left to right) Yusuf, Ben, Mudhar, Otto, Aidin, Thomas, Thorsten, Girboy, Ayoub (wants to go to Boavista next year!), Petra, Agung, Hilli

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sangalaki in danger!

Project manager Dr. Hiltrud Cordes and scientific director Dr. Thomas Reischig just arrived from a three weeks project visit in eastern Borneo. We were very glad to experience the strong dedication and commitment of our local collaborators for the sake of sea turtle protection, and to witness the excellent work they are doing. Our collaborators often live for several months on these remote islands before they take their well-deserved vacation on their home islandsSangalaki in danger! or on the mainland. Due to their activity, illegal egg theft is nearly history on our monitored islands of Sangalaki, Bilang-Bilangan, and Mataha. Until end of 2012, we have saved about 6,200,000 turtle hatchlings within our twelve years of activity.

However, recently our work is overshadowed by some unfortunate events. In late September, our staff has unexpectedly been expelled from the island by the local government, thus rendering the island unprotected against egg collectors from the neighboring island. So far, the future of our ranger station on Sangalaki is unclear. Of course, we will try everything that is possible for us to continue our work on this so important nesting island of the green sea turtle. In the meantime, we sent an urgent request to the appropriate ministry in Jakarta to clarify the situation on Sangalaki. Should there be no quick solution to continue our protection program we will soon launch a campaign to save Sangalaki. We will immediately inform you about any new development in this case.

Sangalaki in Gefahr!

Gerade sind wir, Projektmanagerin Dr. Hiltrud Cordes und wissenschaftlicher Leiter Dr. Thomas Reischig, von einem dreiwöchigen Projektbesuch in Ost-Borneo zurückgekehrt. Es freute uns sehr zu sehen, mit welcher Hingabe und Engagement unsere Mitarbeiter vor Ort im Sinne des Schildkrötenschutzes tätig sind und welch hervorragende Arbeit sie dort leisten. Unsere Mitarbeiter sind teils mehrere Monate ununterbrochen auf den einsamen Inseln stationiert, bevor sie ihren wohlverdienten Urlaub auf dem Festland antreten. Durch ihre Tätigkeit gehört der illegale Eierdiebstahl auf den von ihnen bewachten Inseln Sangalaki, Bilang-Bilangan und Mataha praktisch der Vergangenheit an. Bis zum Ende des Jahres 2012 konnten damit in der dann zwölfjährigen Tätigkeit der Turtle Foundation auf diesen Inseln etwa 6.200.000 Schildkrötenschlüpflinge gerettet werden!

Leider wird aber unsere Arbeit derzeit von einem unerfreulichen Ereignis überschattet. Völlig unerwartet sind unsere Mitarbeiter durch die Lokalregierung Ende September von der Insel Sangalaki verwiesen worden. Damit sind unsere Schildkröten vorerst wieder schutzlos den Eiersammlern von der Nachbarinsel ausgesetzt. Die Zukunft unserer Rangerstation auf Sangalaki und die der Schildkröten ist im Moment leider völlig ungewiß. Selbstverständlich werden wir alle uns zur Verfügung stehenden Hebel in Bewegung setzen, um den Fortgang unserer Arbeit auf dieser wichtigen Nistinsel sicherzustellen. Unterdessen haben wir eine dringende Anfrage zur Klärung der Situation auf Sangalaki beim zuständigen Ministerium in Jakarta eingereicht. Sollte sich keine rasche Lösung abzeichnen, die es möglich macht, das Schutzprogramm wieder aufzunehmen, werden wir in Kürze eine Kampagne zur Rettung von Sangalaki starten. Über neue Entwicklungen zur Sangalaki-Frage werden wir Sie hier auf dem Laufenden halten.