Recovery of an endangered marine species
The loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), also commonly called Caretta Caretta, reintroduction project in Fuerteventura aims to recover a species lost in the island coasts more than a century ago. A world reference for marine fauna recovery.
Of the eight species of sea turtles in the world, four can be found in the waters that surround Fuerteventura: the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriácea), the most pelagic in the Atlantic Ocean; the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), the most common in the Canary Islands; and the green turtles (Chelonia mydas) and hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), occasional on our islands.
The conservation of sea turtles is a difficult task not only for international, national and local institutions, but also for all citizens of the planet.
In recent years, the Fuerteventura Council (Ministry of Environment) together with the Government of the Canary Islands, the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC), the Higher Center for Scientific Research, the Government of Cape Verde and the collaboration of conservation associations and environmental volunteer groups that have been emerging on the island, such as AVANFUER, has developed a program of conservation and reintroduction of the loggerhead turtle (Caretta Caretta), in danger of extinction worldwide today.
The project has two basic lines of action
Reintroduction of the Caretta Caretta turtle
Based on the fact that the loggerhead turtle is characterized by nesting on the beach where it was born, the project (an ambitious plan that was started experimentally in 2006) intends to reintroduce the loggerhead turtle by installing a turtle population again in Fuerteventura so that they lay their eggs on the beaches of the island, using as a donor population that of the Cape Verde Archipelago.
Once these eggs hatch, newborn turtles are moved to seawater tanks designed based on the characteristics required by the species in the Sea Turtle Recovery and Conservation Center, where they are fed and given the necessary care to increase your chances of survival. This method allows the young to reach considerable size and strength, greatly reducing the number of natural predators at the time of returning to the sea.
After a while, the turtles are released on the beach of Cofete (which due to its morphology, characteristics and thermal data obtained has been considered the most suitable beach for the development of the nests and as the best future nesting area), to the expects that, once they reach maturity, the females return to the island to spawn on the same beach where they were born, thus recovering a natural phenomenon that already occurred on the island more than a century ago.