A project of Marine Turtle Research Group in conjunction with the partners and sponsors detailed below.
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The Cape Verde archipelago, 500km off the West Coast of Africa, hosts one of the worlds largest nesting colonies of the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). Although marine turtles have been recorded at Cape Verde as early as 1479 (when the French explorer Eustache de la Fosse reported that sea turtles could be used by humans for medicinal and nutritional purposes), it was not until 1998 that Project Natura 2000 began comprehensive studies to assess the status, distribution and abundance of marine turtles in the Cape Verde archipelago. To date, 3,377 loggerhead turtles have been tagged on the beaches of Boavista, just one of the 15 islands and islets of the Republic of Cape Verde. Boavista is known to host the largest number of nesting turtles in the archipelago although the number of turtles is thought to have been declining since the start of surveys due to threats by human predation.
The nesting population of Cape Verde has been identified as a priority for conservation along the West Coast of Africa and more information needs to be collected on its natural history, including migratory pathways and foraging areas. This study will investigate these post nesting migratory pathways and foraging grounds and describe diving and depth utilisation patterns.
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This satellite tracking project is a collaboration among the Cape Verde Instituto Nacional Desenvolvimento Das Pescas (Sonia Merino, Vito Melo), the Marine Turtle Research Group (Brendan Godley, Annette Broderick, Lucy Hawkes), SEATURTLE.ORG (Michael Coyne, Matthew Godfrey) and the Universidad Las Palmas, Canary Islands (Luis Felipe Lopez Jurado, Nuria Varo, Pedro Lopez-Suarez, Daniel Cejudo). The ongoing turtle monitoring and conservation project is being supported by "Hydrocarpo", an Interreg IIIB project (UE) ; a Canarian and Cape Verde Government
initiative implemented by the Cape Verde Instituto Nacional Desenvolvimento Las Pescas and the Instituto Canario de Ciencias Marinas , Canary islands (Spain).
Noting the regional importance of this work, WWF-WARPO are working with project partners to help the project disseminate its findings to maximum effect.
This project was funded by generous grants from the British Chelonia Group, the Marine Conservation Society, the Natural Environmental Research Council, the Peoples Trust for Endangered Species, SEATURTLE.org and SeaWorld Busch Gardens.