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First census of the green turtle at Poilão, Bijagós Archipelago, Guinea-Bissau: the most important nesting colony on the Atlantic coast of Africa

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 November 2002

Paulo Catry
IUCN Guinea-Bissau, Apartado 23, R. São Tomé, Bissau Codex 1031, Guinea-Bissau Also: Unidade de Investigação em Eco-Etologia, ISPA, Rua Jardim do Tabaco 44, 1100 Lisboa, Portugal
Castro Barbosa
Gabinete de Planificação Costeira, Apartado 23, Bissau Codex 1031, Guinea-Bissau
Bucar Indjai
Instituto Nacional de Estudos e Pesquisas, Complexo Escolar 14 de Novembro, CP 112, Bissau, Guinea-Bissau
Amadeu Almeida
Centro de Investigação Pesqueira Aplicada, Av. Amilcar Cabral, Rua 12, Bissau, Guinea-Bissau
Brendan J. Godley
Marine Turtle Research Group, University of Wales, Swansea, SA2 8PP, UK
Jean-Christophe Vié
IUCN Guinea-Bissau, Apartado 23, R. São Tomé, Bissau Codex 1031, Guinea-Bissau
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The island of Poilão in the Bijagós Archipelago, Guinea-Bissau, is known to be an important nesting site for the green turtle Chelonia mydas, but until recently there were no quantitative estimates of the number of clutches deposited annually. In 2000 a survey was carried out to assess the magnitude of nesting, and an estimated 7,400 green turtle clutches were deposited. Four nesting hawksbill turtles Eretmochelys imbricata were also encountered. This study confirmed that Poilão is one of the most important nesting sites for green turtles in the Atlantic, and the largest known nesting colony on the west coast of Africa. Traditionally Poilão has been regarded as a sacred site by the Bijagós people, and this has contributed to the conservation of these turtles. However, the development of fisheries in this region is an emerging threat. To conserve this site a National Marine Park was designated in August 2000.

Short Communication
2002 Fauna & Flora International