Marine turtles

Four species of marine turtles come ashore to lay their eggs on Bioko Island's southern beaches from November to February:

  • Atlantic Green (Chelonias mydas)
  • Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea)
  • Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata)
  • Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea)

Marine turtles nest on the 19 km of black sand beaches along the southern shores of Bioko Island’s Gran Caldera and Southern Highlands Scientific Reserve. The nesting season, which peaks in January, corresponds to the dry season on the Island, beginning in September and extending through April.


The first systematic record of Bioko Island turtle nesting took place from 1996 to 1998. Trained local people from the village of Ureca were responsible for daily counts from all the southern beaches.  After a two year hiatus (1998/1999 and 1999/2000) seasonal nest counts were resumed, done by the same villagers, under the auspices of the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program. Since 2007, we currently focus on the nesting ecology of the marine turtles and also seek to improve and advance the data collection on the Island.


Our attention is focused on Leatherback and Green Turtles, the most frequently nesting species.  Leatherbacks have been tagged with unique identification markers during night patrols since 2007.  In 2013, the tagging program was extended to Green Turtles nesting on the Western beaches.

For more information on the BBPP's marine turtle monitoring program, please contact Dana Venditti, Ph.D. student, at

All photos seen above are credited to National Geographic Photographers Tim Laman, Ian Nichols, Joel Sartore, and Christian Ziegler as well as numerous members of BBPP (staff, students, and volunteers).