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Turtle Foundation Newsletter October 2017

Dear friends and supporters of the Turtle Foundation,

On the Cape Verde island of Boavista an exciting nesting season is soon ending. After we had already registered a record number of loggerhead turtles nesting on our project beaches last year, in 2017 we were again surprised by a considerable high number of nesting animals. Up to now, years of high nesting activity have usually been followed by two or three rather calm years, but indeed we are not yet long enough active on Boavista to fully understand the underlying periodicity.

Image: Prince Albert II of Monaco in the Lacacão-Camp der Turtle Foundation

A highlight of this season was the visit of Prince Albert II of Monaco on Boavista, who welcomed delegates from our and other organizations on board of the research ship M/V Yersin. Prince Albert II also visited our field station on Lacacão Beach and the turtle hatchery there. The visit took place as part of a three-year project on oceanography, which is organized by the Princely House of Monaco. Please read more about this event in our blog.

Although the nesting season is not yet over, we have already begun important preparations for next year. Many aspects of our protection programs require long-term planning and careful preliminary considerations. Therefore, we are very proud and happy to present two new "collaborators" who will support our project on Boavista starting next year: Karetta and Kelo are two puppies, born on 13 June, from a recognized breeding of the Labrador working line.

Image: Turtle Foundation search dog Karetta

Conservation dogs are meanwhile in use worldwide in various areas: As tracking dogs they support customs officers in the search for smuggled ivory and rhinoceros horn; as mantrailers they can provide valuable support in the detection and pursuit of poachers.

The future tasks of Karetta and Kelo are manifold: Since Labradors are a very human-friendly and likeable dog breed, they will support us as ambassadors in our public relations work on Boavista and in our children's program "School in Nature". However, a key task will be to serve as search dogs in order to support beach patrols at night. The dogs will run off wider areas in a zigzag movement and signal any abnormalities they encounter. The efficiency ranges of our beach patrols can thus be considerably extended. And finally, with their supernoses Karetta and Kelo will be able to find and signal dead sea turtles and their remains on beaches and elsewhere.

Image: Turtle Foundation search dog Kelo

We are very pleased that we have been able to win the well-known Swiss dog trainer Marlene Zähner as a partner for this project, who is already doing an excellent job with conservation dogs in the Congo. Marlene will initially take care of Karetta and Kelo and will provide them with a solid, age-appropriate basic education. At the beginning of the nesting season in 2018, Karetta and Kelo will leave for Boavista and then, at the age of about one year, will begin their work in the service of protecting sea turtles.

Our dog project – as well as our other work to protect the endangered turtles – is only possible with your help. Please continue to support us!

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Reports and information about our projects can be found on our Facebook page and in the blog on our website.

Portrait Dr. Hiltrud Cordes

With best regards

Dr. Hiltrud Cordes
Program director of the Turtle Foundation

PS: Have you ever thought about becoming a sponsor member of the Turtle Foundation Friends Association? With your annual membership fee, you will support the Turtle Foundation on a permanent basis without any further commitments! Click here for Turtle Foundation Friends...