Sea Turtle Nesting Season Supporter

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Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.

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 identify sea turtle nests, nesting relocation and different methods of data collection.
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.
During the nesting season, volunteers participate in night patrols to protect and collect data on nesting sea turtles, hatchling releases, and community outreach. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
Singles
Couples
Groups

The islands of Cabo Verde constitute the world’s second 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 species has brought them to the brink of extinction. The illegal hunt and trade of turtle meat along with the quick tourist and urban development are the main threats to the species in Sal Island.  

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 – with beach patrols, community engagement activities. We have also been working closely with the government to improve regulations. While the number of turtles killed has drastically reduced, illegal poaching and trafficking persist. 

2021 was a record season in Sal Island: we registered over 53.000 nests and we relocated 3.300 of these nests to our hatcheries, from where we released more than 142.000 baby turtles! We were lucky to welcome on our team 42 volunteers from 13 different countries, which were greatly missed during the pandemic when the borders of Cabo Verde were closed. Our international volunteers play a key role in our team, not only do they bring critical manpower for the patrols, but also important energy, enthusiasm, and multiculturalism, essential elements for supporting motivation and refreshing team energy throughout the season. 

2021 was also a difficult year for everyone around the world, with many having to change their routine and even cancelling their plans to adjust to the new conditions. It was a year where we learned how much we depend on a healthy planet to ensure our health in the future. Volunteering with conservation projects is just one way to support nature and help it thrive. When you volunteer with us, you can be certain of your contribution to protecting critical ecosystems and the important wildlife species that are a part of them What better way to move forward from a challenging year than to reconnect with nature and join our project as a volunteer?

Our mission continues in 2022 – hopefully with you as a part of our team! We aim to further empower the community to take action against the slaughter of nesting females, through direct beach protection, hatcheries management as well community engagement. As a critical part of our team, you will have the opportunity to directly contribute to the conservation of this endangered species and ultimately help build a more sustainable Cabo Verde.

The usual nesting season is from June until October 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. This volunteering opportunity will not only provide you with good experience in turtle conservation techniques but also allow you to make a real difference in the survival of marine turtles. Your participation will allow for opportunities to be directly responsible for saving numerous nesting females and to experience a high level of satisfaction from being able to rapidly affect the declining situation of sea turtles in Cabo Verde.

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. Volunteers are a critical part of our turtle protection team with their enthusiasm and energy helping us to save many turtles.

Volunteers are based in a field camp (living in a shared tent with other volunteers), with rest periods in apartments in Santa Maria. Volunteers work six days each week and will have 1 day/night off to explore the island, enjoy diving, surfing, and other water sports, or just lay on the beach and relax! 

Living under these conditions can be challenging, extremely tiring, and stressful, and will include work both at night and during the day. A good level of fitness and physical and mental energy is required as patrols are at night time and long (possibly all night), conducted on foot, and maybe as long as 15km. Shift patterns vary but you will have 1 day of rest per week. 

Requirements:

  • Desire to participate in conservation;
  • At least 18 years old;
  • Understand written and spoken English;
  • Good level of physical fitness;
  • High level of energy and flexibility;
  • Able to cope with physically challenging conditions (camping, long walks, working late nights, hot weather, insects);
  • Ability to work and live with people of different backgrounds and nationalities.

Typical day

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

  • 7 AM - 9 AM: breakfast; 
  • 1 PM: lunch, 
  • 4 PM: afternoon activity such as group games, maintenance of equipment, etc. 
  • 6:30 PM: dinner. 
  • 8 PM - 1:30 AM: first shift patrol OR
  • 1:30 AM - 6 AM - second shift patrol 

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
Hiking
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 (fluently)
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, and meals during your working period. Meals are not provided on rest days. Please note that water and basic meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) are provided in the camp. 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 in the camp for a maximum of six days out of seven.  Conditions are rudimentary. Facilities include a large tent or similar shelter, gas cooker & cooler, or gas fridge.  You will be sleeping in a shared tent (or similar), and for that reason, you need to bring a sleeping mat and a sleeping bag. There is a simple toilet.  Please think carefully about whether you can adjust to living in basic conditions on the beach and whether you are mentally strong and calm enough to deal with encounters with hunters. 

 In your days off in Santa Maria, you will be provided with a shared room in an apartment with shared bathrooms and living areas. During your day-off, 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.

Camping
Food & Beverages
The food will be provided and there is the option of vegetarian food.  Give notice in advance if you are vegetarian or if you have any allergy. 
During your day-off, you are responsible for your own meals.
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.
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 June 24th until October 20th;
  • Volunteers can apply throughout the year;
  • The time of the flight is 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 - 25 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
1 week (min. stay)
$353
2 weeks
$444
3 weeks
$523
4 weeks
$588
25 weeks (max. stay)
$1,610
Average fees
$209 /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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All program fees are charged directly by Project Biodiversity.

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Sea Turtle Nesting Season Supporter

During the nesting season, volunteers participate in night patrols to protect and collect data on nesting sea turtles, hatchling releases, and community outreach.

$188/week

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