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Turtle Foundation Newsletter March 2020

Dear friends and supporters of Turtle Foundation,

Suddenly everything is different – the pandemic is keeping everyone under its spell and of course it is not going to pass us by. On our project island Boa Vista in the Atlantic island state of Cape Verde, the first COVID-19 cases of the country have just been detected; we are observing how the situation develops. In Indonesia, our rangers on the remote islands are largely protected for the time being, and their supplies are secure. For our office staff in Europe and in the projects the usual precautions apply – home office is the order of the day. We will continue to pursue our mission to protect the sea turtles and their habitats with the usual commitment as best we can, but of course our first priority now is the safety of our staff and helpers.

Loggerhead sea turtle returns to the sea on Boa Vista, Cape Verde

Annual Report

For the time at home we have some reading material for you: Our Annual Report 2019 has just been published and presents itself in a new look on the 20th anniversary of Turtle Foundation. Inform yourself about our protection projects for loggerhead turtles, green sea turtles, leatherback turtles, and hawksbill turtles in Cape Verde and Indonesia. The report is available for you under this link:
Download Annual Report 2019

To our volunteers

In view of the Corona crisis, we have temporarily suspended the application procedure for volunteers for this season. Should you nevertheless be interested in our volunteer program, we look forward to hearing from you at
volunteers@turtle-foundation.org.
We will inform you when we can continue the program.

Loggerhead sea turtle returns to the sea on Boa Vista, Cape Verde

TV documentary – extended version

From the end of February, the documentary "Two dogs as turtle rescuers" was broadcast several times on the German and French ARTE TV channels. The film deals with the first-time deployment of our newly trained conservation dogs Karetta and Kelo and other activities for the protection of the sea turtles on Boa Vista, Cape Verde. On 13 April 2020, 5:00 a.m. CET, and 20 April 2020, 9:40 a.m. CET, a new version of the film extended by 10 minutes will be broadcast on ARTE. This version tells an additional exciting story, which takes us into a small, wobbly fishing boat at sea. Scientists and divers try to catch and tag a male loggerhead turtle in order to learn more about the off-shore activities and threats of the turtles. Will they succeed?
Watch the documentary online from 13 April 2020 on:
German version
French version

Plastikmüll am Strand von Boa Esperança

Beach cleaning on Boa Vista

The nesting beaches of the loggerhead turtles on Boa Vista are among the most beautiful beaches in the world – if it weren't for the omnipresent pollution caused by washed up plastic waste. As planned, we would currently be carrying out a large-scale beach cleaning project in the north and east of the island, but this is now suspended for the time being due to the pandemic. Since December, our drone team has been mapping the most polluted beach sections in the north and east of the island with aerial photographs, which are assembled into picture maps and allow for a detailed documentation of the waste contamination and later the success of the cleaning – on these maps every plastic bottle can be recognised. As soon as the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic has considerably eased, we will continue the project together with local organisations.
(Picture: Plastic waste on the beach of Boa Esperança, Boa Vista Island)

Schutzstation auf Belambangan

New ranger station on Belambangan, East Borneo

Our new protection project for the green sea turtles on the coral island Belambangan off East Borneo is now entering its second year. Our rangers have been living there in a well-equipped, but still provisional camp. Since for a full protection of the nesting beaches a Ranger crew must be present the whole year, we established a permanent station on the otherwise uninhabited island, which was just finished. The main premise is to minimise the impact on the sensitive ecosystem of the island through careful selection of the building site, use of sustainable materials for the construction and operation of the station, electricity production using a solar system, and operation of a biogas toilet. Last year we recorded more than 3,000 nests of green sea turtles on the island, all of which we were able to save from illegal egg collectors on the previously unprotected island; so it's worth the effort!
(Picture: The station on Belambangan shortly before completion)

Abstand: Eine Lederschildkrötenlänge! (c) OceanX

Keep well!

Although for many people the extinction of species and environmental crises are understandably less the focus of attention at present, these problems are also real and must not be forgotten. Taking the necessary precautions, we will continue our commitment to protecting sea turtles.

Our first wish for you is that you remain healthy! Please follow the recommended and prescribed precautions, only then will we be able to get through this crisis as soon as possible!
(Picture: (c) OceanX)

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Dr. Hiltrud Cordes Geschäftsführerin und Programmdirektorin der Turtle Foundation

We wish you all the best for the time to come – especially health, of course!

Dr. Hiltrud Cordes
CEO and Program Director of Turtle Foundation