The Urban Turtles

The Guajiru Foundation was founded in 2002.

It emerged out of the necessity to protect the sea turtles that spawn at the beaches of Intermares and Bessa. It all started when a couple, both biologists, met Valdi, the owner of Bar do Surfista at the Mar do Macaco in Intermares. He would take care of the turtle nests on his own. The trio grew in number and nowadays there are students, biologists and other voluntary workers helping with that task.

Baby turtle crawling towards the sea for the first time
Photo: Associação Guajiru

The project that takes care of the turtles is called Projeto Tartarugas Urbanas (Urban Turtles Project) and it's the main activity of the Guajiru Foundation, which also offers other activities such as encouraging young people to engage in education and sports, as well as a little shop that raises funds which help to finance the project.

Baby turtles crawl towards the sea after hatching off their eggs
Photo: Associação Guajiru

One good example is the Escolinha do Surfista, which consists of a work of social inclusion where young people receive the support to take part in competitions.


Together with other partners, the NGO helps to buy the surfboards and afford the travels of the athletes to such competitions. In exchange the athletes must frequent the school regularly and maintain good grades, with the support of additional private tutoring provided by volunteers. The attendance at the private tutoring classes is a requirement to participate in this project.


Support is always welcome and if you are interested in helping to preserve the sea turtles, you can contact Dr. Rita Mascarenhas via e-mail under the address


You can also check their Facebook page if you'd like to see the little turtles hatching out of their eggs. There you can find the dates for the next birth of the urban turtles.