Translation of article from sapo CV from October 17th 2012. Original article can be found here.
A record number of about six thousand turtles visited the beaches of Boa Vista island to nest during this summer, according to data presented today by the two NGOs working with the turtles on the island.
The numbers were presented this morning to celebrate the International Day of Sea Turtles at the headquarters of Project Consolidation System of Protected Areas of Boa Vista, in the presence of the Director General of the Environment, Moses Borges, and representatives of two NGOs, Natura 2000 and Turtle Foundation.
The estimated number of female turtles comes from dividing the approximately 30 thousand nests counted by five, since females nest an average of 5 times per season, approximately 15 days between nesting events, and then wait two years before returning for another nesting season, according to Ana Liria, scientific coordinator of the project Natura 2000.
According to the same data, about 30 turtles were killed for their meat on the beaches where these NGO’s work.
The two organizations have approached the Director General for the Environment in an ongoing effort to raise awareness in the local community and to help continue to reduce the slaughtering of turtles in Cape Verde.
The Natura 2000 Project covers an area of 20 kilometers and Turtle Foundation is responsible for protecting 25 miles of beach. (The original text has a typo in the expanse of beach protected by TF – the correct is 25 km and not 225).
The number of turtles coming to nest in Boavista, according to Natura 2000, increased from 1998 to 2009, but decreased significantly in the following two years.
Ana Liria explained that the life cycle of turtles is very complex, but the temperature of the currents is directly linked with reproduction. Liria pointed out, “if the water is cold and they feed poorly, their digestion is slow and they do not get the energy needed to produce eggs. ”
The island of Boa Vista has the third most important nesting ground for loggerhead turtles in the world and the only nesting on the east coast of the Atlantic.
According Liria, the number 80 is special for turtles: they lay about 80 eggs at a time; live about 80 years and weigh about 80 kgs.
Liria explained that out of every thousand hatchlings born, an average of only one reaches adulthood, and stressed it is very important to carry out long-term studies on the turtle populations.
Males arrive in Cape Verde in May and in June the females arrive to nest. The hatchlings begin to emerge in late August and hatching can last up to the end of November, but most hatchlings are born during the month of September after an incubation of about two months.