Our work to protect Cabo Verde’s biodiversity
Fauna & Flora’s work in Cabo Verde is focused on the island of Maio, which is home to key populations of threatened lemon and nurse sharks and supports one of the world’s most important loggerhead turtle nesting sites. A variety of bird species are also found here, including cream-coloured coursers, Egyptian vultures and – on the island’s expansive salt marshes – Kentish plovers.
Maio’s proximity to the capital island of Santiago means, however, that its wildlife is coming under increasing pressure from boat traffic and coastal habitat destruction, as well as unsustainable and illegal fishing activities such as shark finning.
Shark conservation in particular is hampered by a lack of finance coupled with poor awareness of the importance of these species for ecosystem health, and as a result there is currently no effective protection for sharks and their habitats around Maio.
We are therefore working with our local partner, the Maio Biodiversity Foundation, to build their capacity and establish the foundations for better marine conservation in the waters around the island. Communities living in Maio have been closely involved in this work, with many fishers now acting as ‘guardians of the sea’ to report breaches in fishing regulation and to support research efforts.
The aim is to expand this work to replicate the successes seen on Maio across the entire island chain.