Volunteer with Sea Turtle nesting season on Sal Island, Cabo Verde

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About Program

The islands of Cabo Verde constitute the world’s second most important nesting site for the Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), one of seven marine turtle species found worldwide.
Unfortunately, human exploitation of this species has brought them to the brink of extinction. Poaching along with the fast island development are the main threats to the species in Sal. For the last 10 years, both international volunteers and members of the local community have worked tirelessly to ensure the protection of this species. While the number of turtles killed has drastically reduced, illegal poaching and trafficking persist. Our mission continues in 2021 – hopefully with you as a part of our team!
As a volunteer, your primary role will be to patrol the beaches at night with other assistants in order to deter hunters and ensure the turtle can nest safely. During patrols, you will also assist with important fieldwork activities, including tagging and measuring turtles, and nest managing.

Program Highlights
  • Volunteering period for the nesting season: July 1st until October 20th
  • . As a critical part of our team, you will have the opportunity to directly contribute to the conservation of this endangered species and ultimately help build a more sustainable Cabo Verde.
  • The project encompasses patrolling beaches (night and morning) to monitor nesting and deter hunting, data collection, research, working with tourists and local businesses, operation of hatcheries, and outreach activities and beach clean-ups.
  • Join an international team and enjoy an exchange of cultures while exploring Sal Island. The project staff enjoy discounts in dive centres, surf schools, and excursion companies.
  • If you are looking for your first experience working in conservation, are taking a career break, or just wish to spend your holidays doing something meaningful, this is the opportunity for you!

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Yes, I recommend this program

A Summer saving sea turtles

I volunteered with the project for two months during Summer 2018 and it truly was an amazing experience. It was my first time as a volunteer and I can honestly say I’d do it all again. Not only the project is very well managed but most importantly, it truly makes a difference in taking care of the environment and protecting sea turtles.
When I applied I was looking for a way to use my time to do something good and meaningful and I found it: during my time with the project I learned a lot about sea turtles, but also about Cape Verte and about myself. I had the chance to meet great people, to work with both nesting turtles and hatchlings and to explore the island and its most beautiful beaches, to snorkel in my time off and to work under a sky full of so many stars it always took my breath away other than providing with enough light to spot nesting turtles coming out of the water from a distance.
Living on the beach was one of my favourite parts of the whole experience, it was impossible to get bored with so many people around but at the same time I got a lot of time to think and make important decisions.
Working with sea turtles is fascinating, never boring, and can also be a lot of fun! It is physically demanding and requests a lot of walking but it’s definitely worth it. So if you’re looking for an adventure, for a way to make a difference and to learn don’t hesitate and join the project!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Just embrace the experience. Embrace everything with a positive an open attitude, take every chance to learn, to explore, to help. Embrace the sand that will end up in your shoes, clothes (yes even in your hair). Be open to get in contact with people from all over the world, speaking different languages and having different cultures and backgrounds, it is one of the best parts of the experience!
On a more practical side, make sure to have really warm clothes for patrols, the wind can get really cold during the night, especially when sitting with a nesting turtle: there is a lot of walking but also a lot of time spent working with these beautiful animals!
1 person found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing time protecting wildlife

I was volunteering with Project Biodiversity during the summer 2018, and for one month and a half. I had an amazing time there, I learnt a lot about loggerhead turtles, but also about people, and about myself.
By joining the Project I was looking for meaningful time abroad protecting our planet and I am more than happy that I have been a part of this project.
I would recommend anyone to go there and see by himself. Working with turtles was amazing. You will have plenty of time to learn a lot, discuss with people, get time for yourself during the day.
So if you are in good physical condition, if you are not afraid by walking nights, and if you want to have the unique chance to be useful to wildlife, evolve with great people and learn a lot, do not hesitate, join the project.
You can find plenty of volunteers that could tell you more about the project and the experience, and I am one of those who enjoyed the time there. If I had the opportunity to join the project again, I would not hesitate! :)

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The most surprising thing I saw was the number of turtle path on one of the beach we patrol on. You will see this on the next photos but at one point in the season you will have the chance to see a huge amount of nesting turtles.
Small insight : The morning turtle are the best !
1 person found this review helpful.

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