Sunday, November 8, 2015

Turtle Foundation receives important environmental award

Last Friday, 6 November 2015, the Turtle Foundation was awarded with one of the prestigious environmental awards of the Binding Foundation.

The Binding Foundation was founded in Schaan (Liechtenstein) by Dr. Karl Binding, a nephew of the founder of the Binding Brewery in Frankfurt (Germany), and by his wife Sophie Binding. Since 1986, each year the foundation honors individuals or projects that have made outstanding contributions to the protection of nature, landscape, and environment. With this award, the Binding Foundation recognizes the sustained and successful efforts of the Turtle Foundation on behalf of the protection of the sea turtles and their marine environments.

The award was accepted by members of the German, Swiss, and Liechtenstein subsidiaries of the Turtle Foundation (image, from left to right: Martin Gabathuler, board member of TF Switzerland; Dr. Hiltrud Cordes, Program Director; Svea Meier, board member of TF Liechtenstein; Dr. Otto Jockel, President of TF Germany; Margrit Roduner-Gabathuler, board member of TF Switzerland). The acceptance speech was given by the President of Turtle Foundation Germany, Dr. Otto Jockel. In his speech he stressed that the Turtle Foundation “is not only appealing for compassion towards sea turtles” but is placing emphasis on “highlighting the special position and role of sea turtles in marine ecosystems”.

We are extraordinarily pleased about this special award for our successful conservation work with endangered sea turtles, and cordially thank the foundation council and the curatorship of the Binding Foundation. The award will be a great motivation for us to continue and to expand our conservation projects. Further, we would especially like to thank our employees, rangers, and volunteers working for our projects in Indonesia and in Cape Verde including members of the Cape Verdean armed forces helping in beach protection on Cape Verde, and of course also the many supporters of the Turtle Foundation, without whom our work would not be possible. We will use the prize money of 10,000 Swiss Francs (about 9,230 EUR or 10,050 US$) to continue our conservation projects in Indonesia and Cape Verde.

Link: Binding Foundation

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Hurricane Fred: Beach camps on Boavista again operating

On Monday, 31 August 2015, a hurricane swept over Cape Verde. In the morning hours, on the Island of Boavista the storm reached peak wind speeds of 120–135 km (75–85 miles) per hour. On the southern coast, waves piled up to seven meters above sea level.

The safety of our colleagues in the camps of Boa Esperança, Lacacão, and Canto could not be guaranteed any more because objects were flying around and tent and shading scaffolds collapsed. We had to immediately evacuate the camps. Personal valuables could be taken, but we had to leave behind the tents together with kitchen and other equipment.

We are very happy that none of our staff and volunteers was harmed! Thanks to the careful and prudent action of our team the worst was avoided.

By the next day (Tuesday, 1 September) the teams of Canto and Boa Esperança were able to return to the beaches and immediately started with the cleanup work. Some crew tents could be patched up so that they can be used until the end of nesting season in mid-October. For smaller common areas we still had spare material left that was immediately ready for use.

Turtle Foundation camp on the beach of Boa Esperança during rebuilding

Also the Lacacão team returned to the beach a bit later. Since this camp was more heavily damaged, and the weather became very hot immediately after the storm, the cleanup has been even more exhausting. During a tough three days, the team managed to rebuild the camp from its remnants so that a makeshift operation is guaranteed up to the end of the nesting season. On Friday, September 4, the night beach patrols were resumed.

Turtle Foundation camp on the beach of Lacacão during rebuilding

The hatchery at Lacacão fortunately was far enough away from the sea to avoid being flooded. However, it is possible that crabs invaded the hatchery since its fences had been shifted over by high sand drifts. Presently, there are 55 nests incubating in the hatchery, and we expect the first hatchlings from 16 September on. We now keep our fingers crossed that the eggs, buried deeply in the sand, endured the storm undamaged!

The turtle hatchery after the storm

In order to again having three functional camps on the beaches in the coming year, in the next months we have to spend significant but unplanned funds for new tents, shades, refrigerators, and other equipment.

We are estimating the damage caused by the storm at about 30,000 Euro.

Last but not least some good news: On the beach of Boa Esperança a young pig was straying around aimlessly – it had gone lost in the storm and now was at the end of its tether. Our team took it to the camp, where it was given the name Freddy and now enjoys the protection status of a mascot!

Freddy our new mascot

The Turtle Foundation says a great big Thank You! to our marvellous Boavista team! With team spirit and hard work it succeeded in restoring operational status of our camps in no time.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Hurricane Fred destroys beachcamps on Boavista: A first report

(Bitte hier klicken um diesen Bericht auf Deutsch zu lesen / Please click here to read this report in German)

On Monday morning, August 31, a hurricane swept through the islands of Cape Verde. On our project island, Boavista, the storm brought strong winds and heavy rainfall, causing major damage. The airport had to be closed, electricity and internet went down, trees were uprooted and roofs were blown off. As far as we know, fortunately, no people were harmed.

Since the internet connection was up and running again the next day, Tuesday September 1, we were able catch up with our team on Boavista. It was a big relief to hear that all staff and volunteers are well and safe!

Our colleagues Red Hallsworth and Ukie Resende reported over Skype:
„There was no warning that the storm would develop into a hurricane. Stormy weather and heavy rainfall are normal for this time of the year on Boavista. On Monday morning at 9 a.m. we left our headquarter in Sal Rei for a routine delivery of food supplies to the Lacacão camp. On the way it became clear that this was not a normal storm. A river that hardly has running water most of the year had become impassable. Several vehicles were waiting there because the drivers were undecided whether they should dare to cross. The wind was so strong that the vehicles were pushed further. We broke off the attempt to get through to Lacacão in the south of the island.
The Boa Esperança camp on the north coast, which has mobile coverage, was the first to inform us that the situation was under control. The team wanted to stay and wait. But around noon the camp coordinators called again and asked to be evacuated, because the central kitchen and lounge tent had collapsed. We picked up the crew from the beach and brought everybody to Sal Rei.
For the team in Lacacão it was more difficult. In the south, the storm was raging more fiercely. There is no cell phone connection in Lacacão, and therefore we did not know if the team was safe. Once the storm had passed its peak, in the afternoon we tried again to drive to Lacacão. As a precaution, we had the pick-up packed with food, drinking water, cooking utensils, mattresses, towels and dry clothing.
This time we made it through. The twenty staff and volunteers had left the camp in the morning, after the tents were shredded and swept away by the wind. They walked to a nearby farmhouse, but could not proceed from there, because here a raging river had formed, too. We were then able to bring the drenched but uninjured group over the river with the pick-up.
The Hotel Riu Touareg, which is not far from the Lacacão camp, has a large desalination plant. There is a large room where the group could be accommodated temporarily. There they spent the night from Monday to Tuesday. All were exhausted and soaked, but in good spirits. The team stayed strong, and nobody was panicking."

Meanwhile, we have informed the families of all employees and volunteers that everybody is safe. Our field station in the village of Fundo das Figueiras continues to operate normally, and the Boa Esperança camp is currently rebuilt. It will resume operation this week.

The Lacacão Camp, however, has suffered more. The camp crew was evacuated yesterday (Tuesday, September 1) to Sal Rei and staying there for the time being. At the moment it is still unclear when the camp can be provisionally restored to the point that we can continue working there.

The turtle nests are most likely heavily affected by hurricane Fred, too. Large parts of the beaches were flooded, so it has to be expected that many nests are destroyed. The coming weeks will show whether hatchlings still will emerge from these nests.

Our colleagues from the organization Natura 2000, which is managing two camps on the east coast of Boavista, are facing a similar situation: the teams are safe, but the damage to the equipment is considerable.

Once the camps are back in operation, we will make inventory lists, in order to gain an overview of what can be repaired and what must be replaced. Definitely a lot of tents and scaffolds for the shading of the kitchen and lounge areas have been destroyed. In Lacacão a large volunteer tent, made from extremely rugged canvas, just disappeared, and another one was torn by the wind. The shade roof on the roof terrace of our house in Sal Rei was also carried away by the wind.

We estimate the damage to range around 30,000 Euros.

The Turtle Foundation would like to thank our great team on Boavista! Thanks to the prudent and well-coordinated approach by staff and volunteers alike, a potentially dangerous situation was avoided and all the staff and volunteers are safe.

To be able to rebuild our camps and to continue to protect nesting sea turtle females on Boavista from poaching we urgently need your help!


Hurricane Fred destroyed Turtle Foundation’s beach camps on Boavista

A hurricane passed through the Cape Verde Islands on Monday. On Boavista, the camps on Boa Esperanca and Lacacao beach were heavily damaged by the storm, tents were ripped in peaces and metal rods of tents and shadings were crushed. We are very lucky that nobody was injured and everybody is save. Currently we are surveying the damage, but we can foresee that at least the Lacacao Camp can not be rebuilt quickly. We will inform you as soon as we know more, please stay tuned!

Satellite imagery shows Hurricane Fred swirling off the coast of Senegal on Monday. Left from the midline the Cape Verde islands are indicated. Image courtesy: CNN

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The release of Luisa the Loggerhead

Last week we released 'Luisa'; an injured loggerhead who had been brought in the week before by a local fisherman, Zé Luís. She had been caught in a discarded fishing net out at sea and presumably brought to Boa Vista in the current. With the help of Maria from Natura 2000, her wounds were cleaned and she recuperated on the terrace. A week later, once her wounds were healing nicely and she had her strength back, we decided the best thing for her was to be returned to the open sea. Here are a few photos of the release. Maybe in 10/15 years we'll find her again nesting on the beaches of Boa Vista (as by then she should be sexually mature)! A video of the whole event coming soon!

Saturday, May 23, 2015


Happy World Turtle Day, everyone.  In honor of the day, please think about your use of plastic today.  Especially plastic bags.  Where does your plastic come from, and most importantly, where does it go?  And here's an article on how the turtle got its shell:

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Turtle photos by famous underwater photographer Kurt Amsler

If you are on Facebook, you can see some wonderful turtle photos from the famous Swiss underwater photographer Kurt Amsler, who is also a friend and supporter of Turtle Foundation. His photographs, not only of turtles but of all the amazing marine life he has encountered, are fantastic!
kurt amsler's turtle photo album

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Turtle Foundation seeking Project Coordinator for Cape Verde project

TURTLE FOUNDATION is an international non-governmental, non-profit organization working for the protection and conservation of sea turtles. Since 2008, TURTLE FOUNDATION is implementing a program for the protection of loggerhead sea turtles (caretta caretta) on the island Boavista, Cape Verde.

TURTLE FOUNDATION is currently seeking a Portuguese speaking Project coordinator.


Title of the position: Project Coordinator


Job location: Boavista Island, Cape Verde, West Africa

Period of employment: March 2015 – End of December 2016

How to apply:

For further information on the turtle project please visit:

TURTLE FOUNDATION is currently seeking a portuguese speaking Project coordinator to implement a multi-stakeholder based management system for eco-touristic activities on Boavista Island.

The core of this management system is a new software based distribution tool for Turtle Watching groups. The software will be provided by Turtle Foundation and the Project Coordinator will receive training to operate the system.

The Project Coordinator will organize and moderate stakeholder meetings with governmental authorities, companies, NGOs and community members, in order to introduce the system and to seek support for the project. The successful candidate will establish an office with a team of two cape verdean call-agents to run the system. He/she is responsible for hiring local employees, oversee work structures and budget, supervise personnel and to keep contact to governmental authorities, local project partners and the headquarter in Europe.

This is a management position that requires an assertive individual with excellent communication skills, good organizational skills, sound judgment, initiative, flexibility and.

Salary: 800 EUR/month

Accommodation and a return flight to Boavista will be provided.

Qualifications The ideal candidate possesses the following qualifications:

  • University degree in tourism or business administration, social science or equivalent 
  • A minimum of two years of working experience in a project management position 
  • Must be fluent in Portuguese and English 
  • Experience in negotiating with governmental authorities, enterprises, NGOs and community members 
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively, orally and in writing 
  • Outstanding organizational and time-management skills 
  • Ability to work efficiently and effectively with minimal supervision 
  • Proficiency in MS Word, MS PowerPoint and MS Excel 
  • Holding a driving license 
To apply: Send cover letter, resume, transcripts and at least two professional references to,   attention Dr. Hiltrud Cordes.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Welcome to Zeddy Seymour, Assistant Project Manager for Cape Verde

Hi Everyone,
Meet Zeddy Seymour, our new Assistant Project Manager for our Cape Verde project:

In May of this year I will be starting as assistant project manager in the Cape Verde. I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself to those of you I haven’t met in person.

I have been interested in turtles ever since I first met one whilst snorkelling in Hawaii as a child. It was a simple experience but one that has profoundly affected my life. I feel extremely privileged to be able to work in an area that I feel so passionate about, and fortunate to be part of an organisation that I truly believe in. I hope to continue to develop the great work that Turtle Foundation has done in Cape Verde so far and  to  build upon this, particularly within the community.

Having spent the last two seasons in Boa Vista, first as camp coordinator of Lacacão and then last year responsible for Geomar’s data collection, I feel I have developed an understanding of the island’s ecology and community that will help me to do so. On the other hand, my previous experience working in Mozambique and Latin America will also be useful, as will my qualifications.

I have BA in Latin American Studies from the University of Leeds, a degree that allowed me to study the Portuguese language in depth, and which consequently has been fundamental to my understanding, and appreciation, of the Lusophonic world and its’ cultures. However, I never lost touch with nature and my desire to work towards achieving a better and more sustainable balance. As a result I went on to read
an MSc in Conservation and Biodiversity at the University of Exeter. During this degree I was lucky enough to work with Doctor Rachel Graham and Professor Brendan Godley, both of whom were fundamental in developing my understanding of the situation in the seas, and as a result, instrumental in my decision to pursue a career in marine conservation.

It is the mixture of a Lushophone environment and marine conservation that I feel most suits me. I look forward to the new challenges, expanding my knowledge of kriolu and strengthening the link between conservation and the local community. I really look forward to working with you and to bringing my dog, Frida, back to her homeland!

All the best,
Zeddy Seymour

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Volunteer opportunities with Turtle Foundation in Cape Verde

Do you want to work with endangered loggerhead turtles in Africa, gain hands-on experience in the field or simply help make a difference during your holidays? Turtle Foundation - Cabo Verde, are now recruiting for the upcoming nesting season (June-Nov 2015).

~ We have a range of positions available. Please visit our website for more information & application forms:
                                          Volunteer information Turtle Foundation

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Loggerhead's 'Lost Years' During Migration Discovered

Loggerhead sea turtles have long been famous for their epic migrations, traveling for thousands of miles across the open ocean. However, there has been a gap in the record of their travels, that is, until now since NOAA researchers discovered evidence of what are known as "the lost years," a new study says.

loggerhead sea turtle
North Pacific loggerheads typically nest on beaches in Japan where they give birth to young hatchlings, which then disappear into the North Pacific and later show up about 6,000 miles away off Baja California. But how do these turtles get from Point A to Point B? This mysterious lapse in time has long been referred to by scientists as "the lost years."
In a stroke of good fortune, late last year scientists with the NOAA Fisheries conducting a marine mammal survey happened to stumble upon a band of 70 young loggerheads more than 200 miles off the Southern California coast. They believed this group to be of the lost years.
"It's one of those great 'aha' moments in science," researcher Scott Benson said in a statement. "We've always known they were out there somewhere, we just didn't know where."
So why exactly is it important that scientists know the exact movements of these migrating turtles? The NOAA-led team believes their study has important implications for the conservation of loggerheads, a species threatened by the fishing industry.
"If we can predict where loggerheads are going to be and when, we can tell where it's safer to fish," explained marine ecologist Jeffrey Seminoff.
According to the Sea Turtle Conservancy, there are an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 nesting loggerhead females worldwide, with populations steadily declining mostly from incidental capture in fishing gear, but also because of pollution and development of their nesting habitat.
But with these new findings, loggerhead sea turtles may be able to get some help.
Biologists have known for some time that loggerheads prefer warmer waters, so seeing them off the coast of California when temperatures are high isn't all that unusual. One theory was that turtles feeding off southern Baja ventured hundreds of miles north toward California during warm conditions.
However, this theory doesn't add up considering the recent swarm of juveniles was spotted heading in the opposite direction, not to mention that they were smaller and younger than turtles commonly seen of Baja. The only explanation, researchers say, is that these turtles were still migrating south toward Mexico via ocean currents, making them "lost year" loggerheads.
"This is one of the best discoveries we've had in years in terms of understanding the lives of these turtles," Seminoff added.
For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).
Original article at