Loggerhead turtles

The Science Faculty at the University of Porto has been studying the plastic found on the beaches of Cape Verde. Turtles and plastic are not a good combination. The study was particularly concerned with the survival of turtles in Cape Verde. The country is recognised as one of the main nesting sites for the Caretta Caretta species (loggerhead turtles). The babies hatch about 50 days after the eggs are laid. Each female lays about 80 eggs.

The study looked at seven of the ten islands and found that the two most adversely affected were Boa Vista and Santa Luzia (uninhabited island). Those two islands attract the most plastic waste. This also includes the remains of fishing nets and ropes, as well as bottles and other plastics. Whilst a lot of this comes from fishing, it is also deposited by ocean currents. Some 84% of the waste found on the beaches was plastic?

The waste that is found on the beaches makes it difficult for the turtles to move around. Studies have also shown that plastic can release chemicals into the sand, which are harmful to animals. This problem, together with the warming climate threatens the turtles. It has already been shown that as the sands get hotter, a much larger number of females are born. So the male population is falling with the obvious effect on breeding and, eventually survival.