ESR 3:133-143 (2007)  -  doi:10.3354/esr003133

Conservation status of the loggerhead sea turtle in Brazil: an encouraging outlook

Maria Ângela Marcovaldi1, Milani Chaloupka2,*

1Projeto TAMAR-IBAMA, Fundação Pró-TAMAR, Caixa Postal 2219, Salvador, Bahia, 40210-970, Brazil
2Ecological Modelling Services Pty Ltd, PO Box 6150, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4067, Australia
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: The loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta is one of the large and long-lived species that comprise the charismatic marine megafauna. The loggerhead is considered endangered, especially in the Pacific Ocean, where there have been substantial declines in all the major nesting populations. On the other hand, some loggerhead nesting populations in the northwest Atlantic are apparently increasing, but the conservation status of loggerheads in the Atlantic-Mediterranean is not well known. Here we report on a long-term and geographically extensive study of the nesting abundance of the Brazilian loggerhead genetic stock resident in south Atlantic waters. We show that there has been a substantial long-term increase in nesting abundance of this once depleted Atlantic stock following the cessation of egg and turtle harvesting in the 1980s. We estimated that the 2003/2004 austral summer nesting season in Brazil encompassed more than 4800 loggerhead nests or >1200 nesters or >0.57 million eggs. National conservation efforts have contributed significantly to the improving status of the Brazilian loggerhead stock since the mid-1980s, but there are emerging threats such as incidental capture in coastal and pelagic fisheries that might limit any further recovery. Moreover, we found that the Brazilian nesting population is probably one of the largest remaining loggerhead nesting populations in the world. Hence, continued protection of the Brazilian loggerhead stock is of paramount importance for the global conservation of this species.


KEY WORDS: Endangered species · Loggerhead sea turtle · Seasonal nesting activity · Long-term increase · Brazil


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