30 Sep 2014

Biosfera I and conservation of the near threatened Cape Verde Shearwater

Cabo Verde Shearwater baby (Photo: Biosfera I)
By Obaka Torto

Biosfera I, a national non-governmental organisation for the protection of the environment in Cape Verde is working hard to save the Cape Verde Shearwater Calonectris edwardsii.

Founded in 2006, the organisation started carrying out activities to stop the persecution of Cape Verde Shearwater, mainly the hunting of chicks forfood.. Killed in their thousands every year, the species has been harvested for a long time and is part of the traditional Cape Verdean gastronomy.  This harvesting has led to the decline of the species which is listed now as Near Threatened by BirdLife. To address this threat, Biosfera has been working with local communities (especially fishermen) at Raso and Branco Islets (where 75% of the population of shearwater nest) with the aim of conserving the species. The Cape Verde Shearwater takes between 6-7 years to reach sexual maturity and to help reach this stage of it life cycle, Biosfera has invested a lot of time and energy to protect the chicks which are now returning to nest in Raso. With the support from the CMB project (a BirdLife project funded by MAVA) and the Alcyon project (Supported by FIBA), a team is in place to monitor and track the species with the collaboration of local communities and former hunters to cover even the remote areas.

Fisherman training (Photo: Biosfera I)



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The result of this awareness raising of the threats to the shearwater, is helping the local communities and former hunters to gain a better understanding of the importance of the species. To boost the ongoing actions, a Species Action Plan (SAP) for the conservation of Cape Verde Shearwater is in preparation and a workshop for the SAP has been planned before the end of the year.


Story by Tommy Melo