Praia do Forte
On Saturday a couple of colleagues and I headed to Praia do Forte (about an hours drive north of Salvador) to check out Projeto Tamar (and of course the beach). Projeto Tamar is a project is to preserve sea turtles along the Brazilian coast. Started in 1980, the project has helped protect and release into the sea more than 4.5 million baby turtles.
It's quite a cool initiative, they worked with the local fisherman to get them to stop harvesting the turtles and instead created jobs within Projeto Tamar for them. They have some of the larger sea turtles (tartarugas) on show but their main purpose is to help conserve them, and at praia do forte they provide an safe area for turtles lay their eggs, where they remain until the baby turtles are ready to hatch at night under the full moon and make a run for it to the ocean! There are more than 20 protection stations along 1,000 km of beaches and since the project started in 1980, there have been more than 4.5 million baby turtles released into the sea. I unfortunately didn't get to see the nighttime hatching but some of the mummies & daddies in captivity were quite big!
I was however once again reminded of the difference between developed and developing nations - the enclosures that the turtles were in were basically just ponds. Not particularly big and not much effort was made to make the pools look as though they were the turtles natural habitat. You can make your mind up about it - photos below... I'm not being critical about it at all, rather just making an observation - good on them for doing this at all, and I'm sure the amount of money these guys get versus the Auckland Zoo is considerably different!
Another enclosure, you can see the nesting park in the background, complete with a fibreglass turtle breaking out its shell!
I know I’m short, but you’ve got to admit that this turtle is pretty big! (Life size replica of how big the brown loggerheads get to)
After we checked the turtles out, we went for a walk along the beach. The tide was out which exposed this massive rock shelf so we went for a bit of an exploration, after which had a swim, lunch and then a pleasant late afternoon drive back home :)
The rock shelf
Rock pool #1 with striped fishies
What a poser!
I tried, but didn't do nearly as well ;)
A view of the beach from the rocks