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5 Jul 2013

Invasive species and sea bird population fieldwork continues in Cape Verde

By Liz Smith

Although Cape Verde is an Atlantic archipelago, its characteristic fauna and flora have more affinity with Mediterranean Biome rather than African. CEPF funded SPEA (BirdLife Portugal) for an enthusiastic project dealing with the restoration of habitats for the fauna of the Santa Luzia Marine Protected Area, specifically for the recovery and conservation of the endemic Raso Lark.

Biosfera, a local NGO and a partner of SPEA, is the partner responsible for the implementation of the project on the cited KBAs. The team started the fieldwork in April 2013 by collecting data of fauna in Santa Luzia. The field investigations include work on introduced species (cats and mice) and native species (some reptiles and birds). Within this project they continued to prevent the capture of seabird chicks, a campaign that started in 2007, and that this year is in the field since late June 2013.

During this time the team has monitored two populations of seabirds in Raso Islet in order to get a sense of the reproductive success of these species. Other species also have been monitored in addition to the Cape Verde Shearwater Calonectris edwardsii, following protocols idealized jointly by SPEA and RSPB.

Additionally, since the end of June Biosfera has set up a camp on the island of Santa Luzia for monitoring nesting loggerhead sea turtles Caretta caretta. The beaches are surveyed daily and nests and tracks are recorded. All the nests at risk (because they are located in flood-prone areas), are transferred into a hatchery near the camp where the eggs can complete their development.