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Meet the leaders of Project Biodiversity

Founded in 2015, Project Biodiversity is the only environmental organisation working in the Island of Sal. We started collaborating in the summer of 2016, including Sal Island to our network of field associates.

PB Team Picture
PB Team Picture

(Season 2017 - Kite Beach camp, Sal Island, Cape Verde)

What are your names?
Berta Renom Parareda and Albert Taxonera Amoros.
When did you create Project Biodiversity?
We started in 2015. Project Biodiversity (Projeto Biodiversidade) is a Cabo Verdean non-profit organization committed to protecting unique wildlife through community-driven environmental protection programs in Sal, Cape Verde.
We advocate for biodiversity and our aim is to develop sustainable conservation projects that can inspire others to care for the natural world around them. At the core of our work is the protection and conservation of the Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), a globally identified endangered species that nests here on the island during the months of June through October. Our team of local rangers, field biologists, and volunteers work tirelessly during this time to ensure that these animals are protected from poachers and other human-driven threats, who unfortunately still pose a significant threat to the survival of this species on the island and throughout Cabo Verde. 
Can you tell us a bit more of the goals and mission of Project Biodiversity?
Overall, we want to create a conservation model for sustainable management that both protects the Cabo Verde's unique resources and ecosystems, and paves the way for a more vibrant community - one that is both environmentally conscious and economically strong.
With this mission in mind, Project Biodiversity is built on 6 pillars:
Environmental ethics: we respect both ecological and economical importance of the natural resources as an integrated value on the ethical code of companies and businesses.
Commitment: We want to engage and encourage people to develop a personal dedication to the environmental cause as an individual choice.
Environmental Responsibility: We aim to educate the population about the importance of conservation, and environmental stewardship.
Volunteering: we believe we need to enhance solidarity amongst the community, and to promote volunteering as a tool of sensitisation and an enriching cultural exchange experience
Opportunity: Crucially, we strongly support the need to educate and enlighten the community on the health, economic, and personal benefits of environment protection.
Sustainability: To instil responsible decision-making practices that will have an minimum negative impact on the environment, and will build and maintain the balance between ecological resilience and economic prosperity.
With each decision process we undertake, those paramount pillars guide our choices.
What was the motivation to start such a big project?
Before 2015 another group was leading the turtle protection activities in Sal Island. At the end of 2014, they announced they were to cease their activities and so the protection of turtles. The single thought of leaving the population of Loggerheads of Sal unprotected from poachers and development was enough to convince ourselves of the need of starting this new project.
Furthermore, the challenge itself of changing the general perception of conservation in Sal Island was a big motivation!
What are the long term threats to turtles? And what are the day to day challenges in running such a big organization?
We would say that the biggest long term threats that turtles are facing are poaching and loss of nesting habitat. Poaching probably will not last more than one more decade if the current efforts continue and the local and national authorities keep this issue in their agendas. On the other hand, the loss of nesting habitat is a longer lasting issue as uncontrolled development proceeds.
The logistics is by far the most common daily challenge that we have to face. Having more than 40 people working every day and ensuring their welfare requires most of the effort of the coordination team. But not all the challenges are related to the field. To be able to run all the projects we also need to face many administrative challenges, most of them new to us. Finally, in a small island like Sal with an increasing touristic and economic development, the public opinion always adds pressure to our days. The more we communicate our work, the more it is understood and supported.
What are the achievements you are the most proud of?
The success of the project in a very short period and facing different challenges, old and new ones, and with little support from both community and funding partners is of course difficult to estimate. However, now, after 2 years, we start to receive recognition and more support from the community and authorities proving that our work is efficient and needed.
How can we help you?
Becoming advocates of our objectives is the best way to help us and to help nature. Spread our words, follow us on our social media channels (Twitter @ProjetoBioSal; Facebook @projectbiodiversitycv) and help us reach more people.
Funding is another big challenge that all conservation groups have to deal with. If you want to help us for the protection campaign of the Loggerhead sea turtles you can visit our website and adopt a turtle or sponsor one of the nests that are in our conservation hatcheries! 



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