Dear friends of Turtle Foundation,
Perhaps you feel the same way: this year is marked by reunions. After two years of pandemic-related restrictions, we were able to meet people who are close to our hearts in person, both job-related and privately. In August, we had two birthdays to celebrate: the 10th anniversary of the Fundação Tartaruga and the 22nd anniversary of the Turtle Foundation. In Indonesia, the first ever assembly took place in presence on the occasion of the 4th anniversary of Yayasan Penyu Indonesia. Representatives from the projects in Sumatra and Berau met with the board and management for a three-day strategy meeting in Bali.
We hope that you will also find a positive balance to these difficult times for yourselves and can celebrate some reunions this year.
End of nesting season on Boa Vista
The nesting season of the loggerhead turtle on the Cape Verdean island of Boa Vista ended as usual at the end of October. In fact, the last nest of the season was laid exactly on 30 October. After the overwhelming, sudden increase in the number of nesting animals in 2020 and 2021 (28,566 and respectively 36,146 nests), this year’s nesting season was more quiet. We counted a total of approx. 4,670 nests on the beaches which we protect. This is about the same as the annual average before the big rush in 2020. The possible causes of this fluctuation are still hotly debated among experts. Changes in the food supply, industrial fishing and also climate change are being discussed. Our data will certainly help to solve the mystery in the foreseeable future.
Swimming courses are well received
Since last year, we have been offering free swimming courses for children and teenagers at Boa Vista. The success of 2021 has continued this year: two three-month courses now take place between May and October, which are again divided into three proficiency levels. A total of 169 children successfully participated in the courses and received certificates and swimming badges with a turtle motif at the end.
The project background is that around 80 % of Boa Vista’s population cannot swim. This not only poses life-threatening dangers, but also leads to people fearing the sea and not being able to experience the beauty of the underwater world which is worth protecting. Therefore our swimming courses include learning through playing of marine environmental education for the beginners. And for the advanced swimmers, snorkelling trips were also organised for the first time this year.
App to identify illegal trade
Our sister organisation Yayasan Penyu Indonesia is running a workshop series this year to introduce a new app. The free “SEE Shell App” was developed together with our partner SEE Turtles and is available for both iOS and Android. It can be used to photograph and scan objects, and the app will recognise if these are made of tortoiseshell or an optically similar material such as horn or plastic. This is helpful for anyone who wants to avoid accidentally buying tortoiseshell products. Furthermore, the app serves to support staff of the Indonesian customs and the nature conservation authority in monitoring the prohibited tortoiseshell trade.
Watch out on holiday!
The Christmas season is approaching and for some it is time for personal holiday planning. If you are travelling to a region that is home to sea turtles, please keep away from facilities where these animals are “fostered” after hatching. The alleged breeding purpose is to give them a better start in life. In fact, it is true that very few turtles reach adulthood, but natural selection cannot be improved by human intervention. On the contrary, the chances of survival are completely destroyed by keeping them in captivity. The animals become accustomed to feeding, lose their sense of direction and do not learn to swim fast or dive deep. Before you visit such a „headstarting“ breeding institution and possibly keep it alive with your entrance fee, please consider that you are not contributing to turtle conservation!