The preservation of local biodiversity in and around its wind farms has been one of Cabeólica’s main environmental objectives. Due to the critical state of certain species as a result of anthropogenic impacts and excessive predation, Cabeólica has paid a high degree of attention to the preservation of the local biodiversity living in and around our wind farms, including various bird species.
Beginning with the conception phase, Cabeólica has been aware of important bird nesting areas located near the Boa Vista wind farm. Over the past decade, the birds in this area have seen their numbers diminish drastically as a result of low reproduction rates and predation on the part of humans and feral cats. As such, the company has made efforts not only to prevent any possible negative impacts on the birds as a result of its activities, but also to undertake important initiatives aimed at halting the decline of the bird population.
Cabeólica has financed projects by BIOS.CV aimed at improving the reproductive rates of Boa Vista’s osprey population, having set up several artificial nesting platforms along the coastline where in years past the species exhibited low reproduction rates. This project, known as the “Projeto Guincho,” or “Osprey Project,” was distinguished with the 2015 best endangered species conservation program in West Africa award by the 2015 Regional Marine and Coastal Conservation Program.
During the project phase, government nature and conservation organizations in Cabo Verde, namely the National Agrarian Research and Development Institute (INIDA) and the Directorate General of the Environment, in addition to NGOs such as Natura 2000, were involved in supporting the intensive collision risk assessment carried out by Cabeólica. This assessment was later used by Cabeólica in the micro-siting of the Boa Vista wind farm in order to ensure the lowest possible risk for local bird species, mainly the osprey and the red-billed tropic bird, during the operational phase.
We are pleased to see the results that these efforts undertaken by Cabeólica has had, while the studies carried out have generated important information regarding the behavior of local bird life, information that is now available to the scientific community and to the public at large.
The Cape Verde wall gecko (Tarentola caboverdiana substituta), found on the island of São Vicente and nowhere else in the world, was until recently classified as Data Deficient (DD) on the IUCN Red List, which means that information on the reptile was not sufficient to determine its conservation category. Since 2009, Cabeólica has collaborated with specialized biologists from Portugal’s Center for Investigation in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources (CIBIO), financing studies on the behavior and diversity of the population in order to increase knowledge on this extremely rare and important species. As a result of this effort to preserve the species, in 2011 this Cape Verde wall gecko saw its status on the IUCN Red List changed from “sub-species” to “species” and its conservation status changed from “data deficient” to “least concern.” Today, the Cape Verde wall gecko’s population is healthy in size and exists in perfect harmony alongside Cabeólica’s turbines in the São Vicente wind farm.
Cabeólica also frequently orders studies carried out by experts as a part of its bird mitigation and conservation plan, studies that result in annual reports on the behavior of the birds and consisting of detailed monitoring work carried out with various endangered Cabo Verdean bird species. These reports are distributed every year to all relevant stakeholders, such as the Directorate General of the Environment and NGOs that work in the area of bird preservation, in order to encourage potential collaboration that could generate positive results for the overall diversity of birdlife in the country.
In 2014, Cabeólica hired an independent company to carry out a post-construction collision risks assessment for vulnerable bird species in order to certify that these risks remain low, in accordance with the assessment carried out in the past. The collision risk analysis is part of Cabeólica’s continuous evaluation, which serves to help the company evaluate the risks of potential impacts and, consequently, modify its mitigation and conservation strategies based on the indications of potential impact risks. As with previous simulations, this exercise concluded that the risk of vulnerable bird species colliding with the wind turbines is extremely low.