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Science-led Conservation of Turtles

Slaughter of turtles in Cape Verde has been addressed though education programmes and involvement in research to change local attitudes.

Science-led Conservation
  • School/Institute/Department: School of Biological and Chemical Sciences
  • Subjects: Conservation; International
  • Audience: International Communities; NGOs; Students; Educators

Combining state-of-the-art technology with high level, hands-on, education this project engages with local communities in Cape Verde to change attitudes towards Loggerhead Sea Turtles, addressing the slaughter of nesting populations on their beaches.

The Cape Verde Archipelago is home to the third largest nesting aggregation of loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) in the world. However, despite protecting laws and the work of NGO’s these face multiple threats from local people.

Working with NGO’s this science-led conservation project seeks to attain long-term solutions by engaging local participants in research, through which they learn about the importance of local turtle populations. This process of engagement allows local university students and community members to act as ambassadors, passing on their experiences and learning to friends and family and through generations.

Involving others also benefits the research, as the contribution of local people has enabled the number of samples for genetic analysis to rise from approximately 100 within the first year to 1000 turtles in the last.

The project has now expanded to include the education of younger years, with classroom resources and booklets produced to introduce the importance of preserving turtle populations through local schools. This will further embed the importance of local turtle populations within local education.

Eventually, the project aims to expand towards a broader audience, increasing media attention as well as developing their own mechanisms publicising the effort through social media and their website. Exposing the success of the project will contribute to spreading knowledge and expertise, helping to reduce the devastating threat to loggerhead turtles worldwide.

The nature of this partnership with the NGO’s will be also used as a model for sustainable conservation methods and shared with other conservation projects to demonstrate how scientists and NGO’s can work together to protect species conservation.

This project was awarded large award funding by the Centre for Public Engagement, with additional small award funding for production of educational booklets.

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