Marine turtles are very ancient creatures that already inhabited our planet 110 million years ago. So far, they have been able to survive all major environmental changes in our planet. Nonetheless, most species are currently threatened or endangered. Sea turtles are highly migratory species. Their life cycle is very complex, migrating thousands of kilometres through seas and oceans for many years before returning to their natal beaches to breed.
Five of the seven existing marine turtles species are found in the Cape Verde waters: two critically endangered species, the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) and the hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata); two endangered species, the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) and the Green turtle (Chelonia mydas); and one vulnerable species, the Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivácea). But the reason because Cape Verde is so important for marine turtles is that this country constitutes one of the world's largest loggerhead turtle nesting populations.
The Cape Verde loggerhead turtle nesting colony is the second largest stock in the Atlantic Ocean and the third world’s largest breeding population (just after those of Southeast USA and Oman), with approximately 4,000 nesting females per year. Some of the sandy beaches of this archipelago are among the areas with a highest density of turtle nests worldwide. Cape Verde represents the only stable loggerhead turtle nesting population in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean, from the Iberian Peninsula to South Africa; being one of the world´s 11 most threatened sea turtle populations.
About 80% of the loggerhead turtle nests in Cape Verde are deposited in Boa Vista, the easternmost island of the archipelago. The Eastern Protected Areas Complex of Boa Vista is the largest protected area of Cape Verde and harbors the most important turtle nesting beaches in the country.
Major threats to marine turtles are: interaction with fisheries or by-catch, marine pollution, intentional killing of turtles and harvesting of eggs, boat strikes and coastal development. In Cape Verde, the illegal hunting and the tourist development of coastal areas represent the most significant threats.
We kindly ask for your collaboration to protect marine turtle nesting habitats in Cape Verde and to encourage a sustainable tourist development in Boa Vista. You may help with simple actions!!!
When visiting a nesting beach during the daytime, do not push parasols or other artifacts into the ground or make sand castles in the upper zone of the beach, where there could be turtle nests in incubation.
If you see any mark indicating the position of a nest, respect it and do not touch it. Please place your towel and belongings two meters apart.
Do not drive 4x4 vehicles (cars, ATV, etc.) on nesting beaches. You may destroy turtle nests and kill hundreds of hatchlings.
Do not throw any waste onto the beach. Dispose of rubbish in a responsible way.
During the night, minimize the impact of artificial lighting on potential nesting turtles: turn off lights that face the beach and close the curtains of your room.
Whenever you find a turtle contact our qualified staff (+238)9773070 . Do not disturb or approach to the turtle. If it is during the daytime, it is likely that the turtle got disoriented and needs to be rescued.
If you are thinking of going on a turtle tour, do it with an operator authorized by the Government of Cape Verde. Only qualified operators can guarantee that you will enjoy an exciting experience without disturbing the turtles.