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The Maio Biodiversity Foundation was established in 2010 when the need for conservation efforts became evident in Maio, Cape Verde.
The goal of the Foundation is to protect the unique fauna and flora of the island, and at the same time create opportunities and long-term benefits for the people of Maio.
Sea turtles in Maio
Cape Verde is the third most important nesting site for the loggerhead sea turtles in the world; within the archipelago, Maio is one of the 3 most important islands for this endangered species, with about 500 females coming ashore to nest every year.
The loggerheads in Maio are threatened mainly by poaching of females on nesting beaches, captures on sea and egg collection by humans for consumption. Additionally, loss of nests by natural (tides, storms and crab predation) and anthropogenic factors (sand collection for construction, vehicles on nesting beaches) and trash on the nesting beaches and in the sea, can also negatively affect the survival of the species. In contrast with the other important islands for the sea turtle nesting, Maio has not yet been affected by touristic development and its beautiful coast remains practically untouched.
FMB runs a community-based sea turtle conservation project during the nesting season of the loggerheads, which goes from June to October every year. This year will be the third year of FMB in this project, with almost 99% of the beaches and all the main villages of the island covered by the protection teams.
The project aims to protect the sea turtles with active participation of the local community. The strategy is to establish conservation teams in all the 12 main villages around the island and involve the local community by generating turtle-friendly jobs (turtle guards, guides for turtle tours, host families for volunteers), volunteer opportunities for local youth, educational programs specifically developed for the different community groups and awareness campaigns around the island.