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Our Mission
SPEA is an Environmental not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support research and conservation of wild birds and their habitats, by promoting sustainable development for the benefit of future generations.
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The Project



The unhabited islands of Raso and Santa Luzia are Priority KBAs documented in the CEPF hotspot profile for the Mediterranean Basin, located in the Republic of Cape Verde, because they are highly threatened and biodiversity-rich (potentially so in the case of Santa Luzia) islands, with several endemic and highly threatened taxa. The Cape Verde government, recognising its unparalleled value, created in 2003 a marine protected area (MPA), that comprises all three islands (Raso, Santa Luzia and Branco) and the surrounding sea to a depth of 200m. This MPA is exceptionally important for nature conservation both at a national and international level. It holds the entire world population of the Critically Endangered Raso Lark (Alauda razae) and is therefore an AZE site, and the most important known breeding colony of Cape Verde Shearwater (Calonectris edwardsii, Near Threatened), among many other seabirds and taxa with unfavourable conservation status within the region and the country. Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta, Endangered) , of which Cape Verde holds the third largest population in the world and the only one in the eastern Atlantic, breeds in Santa Luzia, with a population larger than 500 nesting females. These islands have a history of uncontrolled levels of poaching and harvesting of seabirds and sea turtles.

Even though the area is protected, these threats are all still highly impacting and causing biodiversity loss. The conservation situation on Santa Luzia in particular is unfavourable: a polluted, unregulated, semi-permanent fisherman's camp, unknown levels of sea turtle poaching, presence of feral cats, and uncontrolled visiting, renders this island, which could be one of the most important marine wildlife refuges in the northern Atlantic, relatively devoid of wildlife. This project aims to support the restoration of Santa Luzia (and the better preserved neighbouring island of Raso) to a better conservation status, the first and decisive step in a mission to turn these group of islands into a haven for wildlife, providing a model for integrated marine and coastal management in the region.




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