25.05.2013 > Senegalese Association pour la Protection des Almadies Read more... ... >
15.05.2013 - 19.05.2013 > Climate change and the changes in the ecosystems of the Langue de Barbarie Read more... ... >
28.03.2013 > Radio talk with environmental experts Read more... ... >
16.05.2013 > Successful project fundraising Read more... ... >
05.05.2013 > COTOA first private sector partner to support the Ecoproject of the month Read more... ... >
01.05.2013 > Stop nylon fishing nets! Read more... ... >
Welcome to our Ecoblog! Here is the place where we exchange ideas or spotlight green events that have come to our attention. Your comments or articles are welcome!
Born in Sao Vicente, Tommy grew up in Brazil, his mother’s home country, and then came back to Cape Verde. After studying Biology and Oceanography in Portugal and the Azores, Tommy returned to his native Island. This time, he is planning to stay and is committed to protect biodiversity. To get to know him better, we asked him a few questions:
1. How come you’re so committed to protecting nature?
My family lives in true harmony with nature. I’ve always been taught to respect its value and I love and respect all living creatures. I must admit I have a soft spot for loggerhead turtles: I’d do anything for them to keep them wandering through our waters, and nesting in our sand!
2. You dive a lot: do you see lots of turtles?
This reminds me of one time, when I was diving with my dad and uncle. We found a huge turtle, probably weighing more than 80 kgs: it had been captured and tied to a buoy by fishermen who had then left it there. We must have spent more than an hour trying to free the poor anima… it was in a lot of pain, especially when my dad tried to cut the cables incrusted in its flesh. When the last loop finally freed the turtle, it started swimming away, towards the open ocean… exhausted but satisfied, we watched this giant regain its freedom.
But all of a sudden, it made a u- turn and swam back towards us. All I can tell you is that we were a bit scared: such an animal could have caused some severe damage! It got so close we could touch it… we didn’t move. It was just incredible: the giant stopped and for a split second, that seemed to last forever, it looked deep into our eyes, we felt like a wave of heat, an obvious connection with the grateful animal… which then dived back into the blue. I will never forget this moment of pure magic.
3. You work with your father on these projects. How is the collaboration going?
My father and I, we think and act almost as if we were one person, which gives us the advantage of being in two places at once! We have our differences but he is my best friend, no doubt about that. We often meet up to observe the environment, in silence, and we can see and understand things that most people do not realize. I value family a lot, even if I’m not married yet… I guess I don’t have enough time to court a woman as she deserves! I am always traveling, and I can spend months in the Protected Sea Area of Santa Luzia.
4. If peers who sponsor your projects come to Sao Vicente, what do you advise them to do?
My favorite place is the area of the ancient volcanoes of Calhau because the underwater nature is still pretty wild there. Otherwise, make sure to dive to see sharks up close, it is fantastic! Also, you should not forget to enjoy the famous St. Vincent’s nights! You can go have dinner at a local restaurant, enjoy a wonderful grilled fish or a lobster… while listening to live music! Hey, maybe you’ll be lucky enough to hear Mariana Ramos, our Ecofund sponsor of honor!
Dates: from 1st April to 31st Mai 2012
Where : Oceanium in Dakar, Kayar and Mbour in Sénégal
Details: Oceanium, our West-African ecopartner in Dakar invite you to participate in its “Clean the seas of abandoned nylon nets” campaign. These nets cause senseless painful deaths to hundreds of already endangered maritime species. The cleaning actions will be followed by awareness-raising campaigns in fishermen villages in order to promote the use of cotton instead of monofilament and multifilament nets. Divers, if you are in Senegal, come give a helping hand!
Date: from 29 March to 1 April 2012
Where: Dakar, Senegal
Info: The Greens are committed to tackling the social and ecological crises facing the planet. This Congress will focus on planning for cooperation and action in order to protect the world's biodiversity, especially in marine environments. Read more >>
Our first notable bird species in the Ecoparc is the Greater honeyguide, a widespread species in sub-Saharan African forest and savanna, whose dull colour belies an extraordinary symbiosis with man, long known from anecdote and first scientifically tested and proven only in the late 1980s. It guides hunters to bees nests, considerably reducing their search time for honey and benefiting from being able to access nests once they are broken open.
In Kenya, where the behaviour was first studied, birds regularly check bee nests early in the morning. They then respond to hunters' whistles by approaching the hunters and leading them to nests with a characteristic call. This is a culturally evolved behaviour that the birds abandon in areas where people no longer gather wild honey.
The species was quickly identified in our book by two passing local women. This is a nice example of a species whose conservation, or at least that of a part of its behaviour, requires the continuation of traditional forest activities, such as are found in the Ecoparc.
Exploring the unknown is always an exciting part of wildlife biology, even if it is a forest 10km from one of the country's main tourist centres! Casamance's forests west of the regional capital town of Ziguinchor are special. They are, excepting a few patches in coastal Gambia, the northern limit of the vast Guinea-Congo forest “biome”; evergreen forests dependent on high rainfall and humidity, dense here with oil palms and occasional towering cotton-trees.
278 bird species are confined to this forest region, of which Casamance has a respectable 37. These are some of Senegal's rarest bird species, due to their very stringent habitat requirements. They are also some of the least known. The parc national de Basse Casamance, where most occur, has been closed since the early 1980s and none other of the forests seem to have been visited by ornithologists since then, whilst our trip seems to have been the first ornithological exploration of the Djembering Forest.
The first thing one notices, often observed in tropical forests, is the elusiveness of the birds. Most sightings are brief flights in the canopy and it is only with practice that the unfamiliar calls, quickly reducing in intensity as the morning progresses, become recognisable. Though, one surprise for us was the familiar, liquid song of a nightingale, a migrant from Europe. Without the nets we had placed to trap birds along the forest paths several species would not have been recorded. In all, two mornings of trapping and observation resulted in six forest specialists - a good start for a first visit.
Intriguingly two local women we met in the forest knew several of the species we had captured when shown our bird identification book, put local names to them and pointed out others we did not observe. In Jola, as in most other languages of Senegal, a local name is given to species of interest (for example announcing the weather, hunted or crop pests), whilst similar species of less interest may be grouped under one name.
Follow our Ecoblog to learn more about the identified bird species!
Not far off the Senegalese coast are the sprinkling of islands that share the winds and the Atlantic ocean: the Cape Verde archipelago; well known for its music and highly appreciated for its beautiful natural environment, which our champions Tommy and Jose are determined to preserve!
The archipelago of Cape Verde consists of ten volcanic islands and five small islets: the northern islands, Santo Antao, Sao Vicente, Sao Nicolao, Sal and Boa Vista are exposed to strong winds: the southern islands are the Leeward Islands: Santiago, Brava, Fogo and Maio. Each island is different; sometimes flat, sometimes with cliffs and hills, some are eroded by wind, others lined with long beaches, or mountainous with small squatterred villages; green or arid; the diversity of the islands reflects the cultural mix of their habitants.
The Cape Verdean population originates from Europe (Portugal) and Africa, reflecting the history of the archipelago. Victims of famine due to the aridity of the earth, the Cape Verdeans emigrated en masse to the United States, Europe and some African countries including Senegal and Angola. Today, the Cape Verdean diaspora is larger than the actual population on the islands: about 700,000 nationals abroad to 500,000 in the country.
Like its people, the culture of Cape Verde reflects a mixture of cultures dominated by a festive lifestyle; carnival and music. Among many musical styles of Cape Verde, Moma, a mixture of Portuguese fado, African rhythms and Argentinian tango is the best known because of its most famous interpretatior, Cesaria Evora, born in Mindelo! But despite the popularity of the Moma we should not forget the Coladeira (Afro-Brazilian rhythms) and Funana (similar to the Caribbean zouk) and the most traditional Batuque, dialogues sung by rhythmic African percussion.
Tommy and Jose invite you to discover the tremendous cultural and natural wealth of these islands!