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The National Park


184 baby hawksbill turtles born in Jericoacoara National Park

One hundred and eighty-four baby hawksbill turtles were born on the morning of April 27th, in the cove in the West area of the Jericoacoara National Park, a conservation area managed by the “Instituto Chico Mendes” in the state of Ceará. [Read more below]

Altogether 184 babies entered the Ocean, swam and never came back. The Head of Unit, Wagner Elias Cardoso, along with all the staff and National Park guides released the babies into the Ocean at sunset.

The scene didn’t only move the observers but also the technicians who assisted in the operation. “It’s another example that justifies the protection of the Jericoacoara National Park and the ICMBio as well as the partnership and awareness of the local communities”, said Cardoso.

The nest was identified approximately two months ago by the seahorse tour guides. The base of the Tamar Center / ICMBio in Almofala collaborated remotely, with technical guidance to the Park’s staff.

The nest’s location was marked by GPS and discreetly monitored daily to avoid damage. Despite the awareness programs and the  education work conducted by the staff of the Park since 2006, sea turtle eggs -as well as the meat of adults- are prized delicacies in traditional local culture. The beach is also one of the access roads between Tatajuba and Jericoacoara, this in itself represents a risk to the integrity of the nests.

The guides reported the hatchling close to midday and helped collecting the babies to put them in the shade to avoid predation, trampling and disorientation, in order reduce the risk of death before releasing them close to sunset time.

How to recognise a Hawksbill turtle
Recently hatched baby hawksbill turtle heading to the Ocean!

The hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) is the only species of sea turtle that have a brilliantly coloredkeratinous shell consisting of overlapping scutes, colloquially referred to as tortoise shell.  The keratine in the shell is also the chief structural component of finger nails, horns and hooves, thus the hawksbill shell is strong, yet somewhat pliable. Hawksbills have a pointy beak and a narrow head, perfect for reaching their food sources, which are often located in hard to reach areas.  They also have four costal scutes on their shell, two pairs of pre-frontal scales, and three post-orbital scales that distinguish them from other species of sea turtles.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the conservation status of the hawksbill turtle is critically endangered. “The females always have the tendency to return to the beach where they were born to breed and therefore there is no possibility of recolonization on beaches where they no longer spawn” says Guy Marcovaldi from the Marine Turtle Research Center.

Hawksbill in the open sea
Hawksbill’s pointy beak


Did you know? The name Jericoacoara originated from the Tupí indians dialect: “yurucuá” (turtle), “quara” (hole / burrow), meaning the “turtle’s burrow” 

The Biodiversity Conservation Institute Chico Mendes is a special entity. “The ICMBio performs the actions of the National System of Protected Areas and may propose, implement, manage, protect, enforce and monitor conservation areas established by the Brazilian Union.

It also encourages programs of research, protection, preservation and conservation of biodiversity.It also executes and policies the environmental protection of Federal Conservation Units such as the Jericoacoara National Park.


1984The National Park of Jericoacoara started as an Environmentally Protected Area (APA) when the Brazilian government passed a special bill in October of 1984. The reason then was to control the disorganised occupation of the land which was starting to threaten it’s beauty. The protected area covered 5,480 hectares (13,500 acres) around the little village of Jericoacoara.

2002It was only 18 years later, in February of 2002 that the National Park of Jericoacoara became official and extended it´s surface area to 8,416 hectares of wildlife (20,700 acres) with the intention of “protecting and preserving coastal ecosystems, insure the preservation of it’s natural resources, enabling scientific research and environmentaly related education as well as enabling ecological tourism and the recreational activities in contact with nature”.

2007The last changes regarding the National Park were made in June of 2007 by extending the Park’s limit to allow for a sewage-treatment plant for the town of Jericoacoara and protection of the Guriu river and it’s wildlife, particularly sea-horses and the endangered hawksbill sea turtle (see the “Preservation” tab above for details), therefor increasing the area to 8,850 hectares (21,860 acres).


Jericoacoara National Park map and surrounding area (click to enlarge)

Beautiful landscapes

Click any of the pictures below to enlarge

Check out the dune buggy trip available in the National Park!

Dune buggy adventures

Click here or the picture below to see the different Dune Buggy Adventures available

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