Protecting turtles from above: Project Biodiversity and TUI Care Foundation use drone technology to save sea turtles in Cape Verde

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  • Advanced drone technology first used in Cape Verde to successfully deter and prevent poaching of endangered sea turtles.
  • Drones capture vital information about turtle movements and help protect turtles and their nests
  • Opportunity to help protect wildlife by adopting a baby Cape Verde turtle

Through the TUI Turtle Aid program, the NGO Project Biodiversity and the TUI Care Foundation have worked together for the past six years to support the conservation of marine turtles in Cape Verde, with protection, education and awareness initiatives. for tourists and local communities on the island of Sal. Today, the partnership takes up a new challenge. Advanced drone technology will be used to protect nesting loggerhead turtles from the threat of poaching on some of the island’s most remote beaches.

The lack of tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the beaches to remain calm. This has increased poaching on the island. Despite vigilant night patrols by Biodiversity Project teams, as well as comprehensive legislation banning the killing, capture or disturbance of sea turtles throughout Cape Verde, illegal poaching remains a significant threat to an already endangered species. Each year, it is estimated that 6 to 13% of nesting females are killed by poachers. Much of this poaching occurs on remote beaches which are difficult to reach with in-person patrols, or where patrols can only take place sporadically.

In these areas, drones can make all the difference. Drone patrols supported by the TUI Turtle Aid program have recently started in the small but critical nesting area of ​​Murdeira Bay Nature Reserve. They have also spread to other remote areas and the Biodiversity Project has regularly recorded cases of poaching. Almost immediately, the team began to see results. In cooperation with local authorities, the initiative has already been able to stop a number of poaching attempts in recent months.

In addition to direct protection, drone patrols also allowed the team to monitor other growing threats, such as predation of sea turtle nests by stray dogs. With these images and information, along with help from local authorities, the team will have valuable tools to help alleviate these issues on the island.

As the nesting season slowly draws to a close and tourism picks up again, Project Biodiversity is delighted to welcome guests and visitors back to its main hatchery behind the RIU Funana Hotel, where they can take the opportunity to see baby loggerhead turtles every afternoon. With tourism in Sal picking up momentum, the team is excited to share more about their turtle protection work – this year with the addition of an information booth. Customers can receive information about the initiative and learn more about the wildlife of Sal and the TUI Turtle Aid program which supports the conservation of marine turtles in Sal and around the world.

To support the protection of turtles, the TUI Turtle Aid adoption program offers the possibility of adopting a turtle in Cape Verde. This includes choosing a name for the baby turtle and a birthday (hatch date). As soon as the baby turtle hatches, the adopter receives an adoption certificate from Project Biodiversity and a photo of the newly hatched baby turtle by email.

More information on turtle adoptions can be found here: https://www.tuicarefoundation.com/en/take-action/adopt-a-turtle?adopt/spende

About the Biodiversity project

Project Biodiversity (Projeto Biodiversidade) is a Cape Verdean non-profit organization committed to the protection of wildlife through community-based environmental initiatives in Sal, Cape Verde. Since its inception in 2015, Project Biodiversity has led direct protection and conservation efforts on the island. Our combined approach revolves around three main objectives: protecting island fauna, increasing environmental awareness and supporting a greener and more sustainable local economy. Defined by these interconnected pillars, our approach unites local conservation efforts with long-term capacity building by establishing programs that benefit both the unique ecosystems of the island of Sal and its people.

About the TUI Care Foundation

Drawing on the potential of tourism as a force for good, the TUI Care Foundation supports and initiates partnerships and projects, which create new opportunities for the younger generation and contribute to thriving communities all over the world. Connecting vacationers with good causes, the TUI Care Foundation encourages education and training initiatives to open up new opportunities and perspectives for young people, protection of the natural environment in vacation destinations and sustainable livelihoods. in thriving destinations where local communities can benefit even more from tourism. The TUI Care Foundation works globally and acts locally – it leverages strong partnerships with local and international organizations to create meaningful and lasting impact. The charitable foundation values ​​transparency and the efficient use of funds. Therefore, 100% of donations go to destination programs, with all administrative costs of the foundation covered by TUI. The TUI Care Foundation was founded by TUI, the world leader in tourism, and is based in the Netherlands.


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