Sea Turtle Hatchling Season Supporter

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Coordinator | Project
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High­lights

Work hands-on in conservation, protecting an endangered sea turtle species from disappearing.
Connect with a new culture from a different country, but also with people from all around the world who are part of our international team.
Gain hands-on experience in sea turtle conservation, learning how to monitor sea turtle nests, perform nests excavations, and identify sea turtle nests.
Spend some time having a meaningful break from your work/study, in a beautiful island with calm beaches and vibrant culture.
Disconnect from the virtual world and connect with the natural world, learning more about these fascinating animals.
Volunteers are responsible for the monitoring of sea turtle nests in the hatchery and on the nesting beaches, helping with the release of baby turtles. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
Singles
Couples
Groups

The islands of Cape Verde constitute the world’s third most important nesting site for the Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), one of seven marine turtle species found worldwide. This incredible species is a critical link in marine ecosystems, helping to maintain the health of seagrass beds and coral reef systems that provide food and shelter for a vast array of other marine life. 

Unfortunately, human exploitation of this amazing species has brought them to the brink of extinction. In 2007 it was estimated that the Loggerhead population in Cape Verde would be extinct by 2015 if immediate actions weren’t taken to halt the illegal hunt and trade of turtle meat. Also, the quick tourist and urban development on the shore of Sal Island is threatening the fate of newborn turtles, where most of them are predated by dogs or disoriented by the artificial lighting. 

For the last 10 years, both international volunteers and members of the local community have worked tirelessly to ensure the protection of the female turtle – by patrolling the beaches nightly throughout the nesting season, protecting the threatened nests, educating members of the community about turtle conservation, and working with the government to improve regulations. While the number of turtles killed has drastically reduced, illegal poaching and trafficking persists. 

If you are looking for your first experience working in conservation, are taking a career break or just wish to spend your holidays doing something meaningful, this is the opportunity for you!  We only take a limited number of volunteers each season and are looking for people who want to do something really worthwhile during their free time and who are prepared for some challenging, but very fulfilling work.

 

During the hatching season, volunteers are responsible for the monitoring of Loggerhead nests in the hatchery and on the nesting beaches. Under the supervision of the coordinators, volunteers will take part in different activities:


  • Morning patrols on the main nesting beaches of Sal Island looking for nests that hatched during the previous night;
  • Overnight shifts in the project hatchery monitoring the nests that are due to hatch and releasing the hatchlings on nearby beaches;
  • Excavation of nests that hatched on the previous night and collection of important scientific data. During those excavations, volunteers will also be releasing any hatchlings left inside the nests;
  • Taking part in outreach activities with the local community and tourists;
  • Maintenance of material used throughout the nesting season.

With this experience you’ll learn about turtle conservation techniques and will have the opportunity to make a real difference to the survival of marine turtles.


The usual volunteer hatchling season is from October until December with hatchlings being born from mid-August until late December. The project is based in Santa Maria, a popular tourist destination known for its beaches and water-sports. Volunteers are based in an apartment in Santa Maria. You will be sharing a bedroom with one or two more volunteers. Volunteers work six days each week and will have 1 day/night off to explore the island, enjoy diving, surfing, and other watersports, or just lay on the beach and relax! This opportunity will not only provide you with good experience of turtle conservation techniques but also allow you to make a real difference to the survival of marine turtles. Your participation will allow for opportunities to be directly responsible for saving numerous nesting turtles and hatchlings and to experience a high level of satisfaction from being able to rapidly affect the declining situation in Cabo Verde.

Typical day

The typical work-day can vary, but it normally follows like this:

  • 7:30 AM - 12 PM: morning hatchery shift; 
  • 4:15 PM - 6:45 PM: afternoon excavations at the hatchery;
  • 7:30 PM to 7:30 AM: night hatchery shift.
Meals are not provided, so volunteers can eat when they want.

We usually rotate the working schedules, so the volunteers don't have to work two shifts in a row (for example one day, you work morning, and then the night shift. The next day, you work the afternoon but don't work at night).

Free-time activities

In your free time, you can enjoy the day by the beach or explore the town of Santa Maria.

You can also go on a day-trip to explore the island or even go diving or surfing! 
We have partners all over the island which offer discounts for our volunteers.

Water Sports
Swimming
Sightseeing
Diving/
Snorkling
Sports

Require­ments

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday

What's Included

Services by Project Biodiversity
Volunteer contributions cover accommodation, utilities such as water and electricity. Meals are not provided. Volunteer contributions also provide critical funds needed to support the basic but essential needs of the project, allowing us to patrol the beaches more effectively, and ultimately protect more turtles.
Accommodation
You will be based in a shared apartment in Santa Maria, where you will share the bedroom and other common areas with other volunteers. You are responsible for your own meals. You are responsible for keeping the apartment clean and tidy and will be charged for any damaged or missing items, the apartment will be checked daily and a fee will be requested if it is not in order. You may be charged for excessive use of water or electricity and you are responsible for any damaged or lost project equipment. You will be asked to pay a €100 security deposit upon your arrival which will be returned to you before you leave if not used.
Bedroom (Double)
Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either. Food, snacks or beverages are at extra costs.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Amilcar Cabral International Airport (SID) in Sal. We assist you to find cheap flights to Cape Verde.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Cape Verde provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in Cape Verde you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Cape Verde.

Dates & Fees

NO CREDIT CARD FEES

Details on arrival

  • The nesting season is from August 20th until December 10th;
  • Volunteers can apply throughout the year;
  • The arrival date and time of the flight are irrelevant;
  • Volunteers will be picked up at the airport by someone on our team;
  • The departure date is irrelevant.
Availability
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Duration
1 - 8 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
1 week (min. stay)
$265
2 weeks
$324
3 weeks
$384
4 weeks
$444
8 weeks (max. stay)
$684
Average fees
$175 /week

The organization charges its fees in EUR. The price table in USD is subject to currency fluctuation. Project Biodiversity will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Project Biodiversity during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

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Sea Turtle Hatchling Season Supporter

Volunteers are responsible for the monitoring of sea turtle nests in the hatchery and on the nesting beaches, helping with the release of baby turtles.

$172/week

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