The Projeto Tamar is a Brazilian environmental organization as well-known as it is respected. Strictly speaking Tamar is not an NGO, as its organization chart includes a government body. The organization benefits from a very powerful sponsor: Petrobras, the mighty Brazilian oil company, always eager to appear as an environmental asset – and not a hazard.
The Projeto Tamar field of action is the Brazilian coastline and its Oceanic islands, and its main aim is to work for the protection and preservation of sea turtles. Brazil is home to five out seven species of sea turtles, all of them endangered species. From September to March, along the coast, and January to June, on the islands, the organization monitors the beaches where the turtles lay their eggs. Tamar estimates each year 14.000 nests and 650.000 baby turtles.
As well as their preservation work, the secret of the Projeto Tamar’s success lies in the way they have build links with the communities, in an effort to spread a culture of preservation replacing a deeply-rooted tradition of destruction, and also giving employment opportunities to less well-off comunities.
Tamar’s HQ is at the Praia do Forte, north of Salvador de Bahía. The organization has bases in other 8 Brazilian states, including Ceará (Almofala), Rio Grande do Norte (Atol das Rocas), Pernambuco (Fernando de Noronha), Sergipe (Pirambu, Ponta dos Mangues, Abaís and Aracaju), Espírito Santo (Vitória, Comboios, Pontal do Ipiranga, Guriri, Itaúnas, Trindade and Anchieta), Rio de Janeiro (Campos de Goytacazes), São Paulo (Ubatuba) and Santa Catarina (Barra da Lagoa).
At many of its bases the emphasis is on education. We have visited the bases of Fernando de Noronha, Ubatuba and Barra da Lagoa (Florianópolis) and it became quite clear that educating is as important as the contemplation of the reptiles. Fernando de Noronha is probably the best place to get acquainted with the work carried out by the Projeto Tamar. Depending on the time of your visit to the island, you might be able to contemplate the birth of the turtles. All year round you have a unique an unforgettable chance of diving with the turtles in the wild.
At the Projeto Tamar’s webpage there is plenty of information. It has en English version.