Engaging the community in endangered species protection

Caretta Environmental Association
Published: 01 September 2016
Last edited: 30 September 2020
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Santa Cruz is a coastal community with about 26 thousands inhabitants with a strong past history of sea turtle slaughter and consumption as well as marine degradation. This solution addresses raising awareness and effectively engaging the community in endangered species protection and marine conservation.


West and Central Africa
Scale of implementation
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Open sea
Coastal and marine spatial management
Ecosystem services
Local actors
Marine litter
Ecosystem loss
Pollution (incl. eutrophication and litter)
Changes in socio-cultural context
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Aichi targets
Target 8: Pollution reduced
Target 12: Reducing risk of extinction


Santa Cruz, Cape Verde


• Slaughter and consumption of sea turtle meat and eggs. • Discharge of plastic into the ocean by fishermen and residents.


The local community and the entire planet as we all depend on a healthy oceans.

How do the building blocks interact?

The building blocks are implemented in a logical and strategic sequence in order to ensure taking full advantage of the lesson learned and transfer it to the next one. The people involved in the solution are taken from one building block to another and accumulate lessons learned. The building block interacts with one another by strengthening the lessons learned to the next one.


• Reduction of garbage dump and plastic at sea. • Reduction of sea turtle death due to plastic Ingestion. • Increase of sea turtles nesting on the beach. • Fishermen became part of the solution and their children are prepared to become better citizens.


“Before 2012 I used to witness slaughter and consumption of sea turtle meat and eggs, discharge of plastic in the sea by fishermen and residents. As a young biologist I am passionate about nature and the marine Environment. I was motivated and inspired to do whatever necessary to reverse the situation. I joined a group of young people who had the idea of creating an organization to raise awareness among the community and make them part of the solution. We created “Caretta Association” for the protection of sea turtles and the marine environment. The project is currently implemented in the main and largest island of Cape Verde. Since the implementation of the project there has been a reduction of dead sea turtle carcasses found. Many people have engaged and some have returned to the sea animals that were kept in captivity.” (Jaquelino Lopes Varela)

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Jaquelino Lopes Varela Caretta Association

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Caretta Association