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Boa Vista Island Ecology

Development of green tourism

Tourist development is concentrated near Sal Rei, on two beaches Praia de Cabral north of the town and Praia do Estoril, to the south. Most hotels are either in the town itself or on Praia do Estoril. A better beach is Praia de Chaves, which is now also attracting development. This is five miles over dirt track from the airport and ten miles or half an hour from Sal Rei.

Boa Vista now has the second most hotel rooms in Cape Verde, with more than 2000 beds in 15 hotels. The Venta Club has recently re-opened with 500 beds and is building another 500. It is aimed at Italians. Four more hotels are under way including the Marina Club on Cabral beach, and a Riu which will double capacity. This might reach 30,000 beds within 20 years. Boa Vista airport has an extended runway capable of taking Boeings and Airbuses. The international terminal is complete and flights from Gatwick commence in November 2008. The airport is capable of handling a million visitors, which worries locals.

Local concerns

The 4,000 Boa Vistans are concerned at what this could mean and have commissioned Amsterdam University to help to steer tourism into ecological paths.

" The planning process lacks transparency,"

Mr Monteiro of WWF complaints.
"Nothing has been done to assess the potential effect of land speculation, inflation, and increased immigration to the island. And, it does not address the likely negative impact on the natural beauty and biodiversity of the island,"

U from Swedn comments on the wildlife.

"Birds: Cape Verde has several internationally important bird populations, some of which are endemic and/or endangered. Some of the most interesting birds include the Cape Verde Shearwater (Calonectris edwardsii), the Raso Lark (Alauda razae), the Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea bournei), the Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens), the Cape Verde Petrel (Pterodroma feae), the Cape Verde swamp-warbler (Acrocephalus brevipennis), the Red-billed Tropicbird, (Phaethon aethereus) and the Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus). Breeding seabirds have been greatly reduced in numbers due to habitat loss and predation from humans or introduced animals such as cats and rats.
Reptiles: Five different species of Sea Turtles can be found in Cape Verde, and the islands are believed to be the second largest breeding site for Loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) in the North Atlantic. Out of 15 different lizards in Cape Verde, 12 are endemic. The Giant Gecko (Tarentola gigas) can, for example, only be found on the Raso and Branco islets close to Sao Vicente. The same was true for the now extinct Giant Skink (Macroscincus coctei).
Mammals: Cape Verde is a key breeding and mating habitat for Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), and various species of dolphins are abundant. The only other native mammals are five small bat species. A species of monkey has been introduced.
Fish and corals: Large pelagic fish, including sharks and tuna, are abundant, and coral communities can be found in almost all Cape Verde islands. According to the magazine Science, it is one of the top ten hotspots for corals in the world. Knowledge about most of the coral communities is limited, however.
Plants: Some 92 species of plants are endemic to these islands, of which at least one is endangered – a tree known as Marmulan (Sideroxylon mermulana). The endangered Dragon’s Blood Tree (Dracaena draco) can also be found. It is estimated that more than 50% of the Capeverdean flora has been introduced forom outsude the islands."