Location and species

The applicant Whale Heritage Site includes the southern coast of the island of Sao Nicolau (Republic of Cape Verde, extending 10 nautical miles offshore from Tarrafal on the west side and from Preguiza on the east site, respectively). Total area is ca. 670 square kilometres.

So far, six species of cetacean have been sighted: Killer Whale, Short-finned Pilot Whale, Melon-headed Whale, Bottlenose Dolphin, Fraser’s Dolphin, and Atlantic Spotted Dolphin. Two species have been acoustically detected: Sperm Whale and Humpback Whale.


Land whaling stations were operative in Sao Nicolau in the late 19th and early 20th century, targeting Humpback Whale and Short-finned Pilot Whale. Currently, a fishing museum has been inaugurated in Tarrafal to recover the history of whaling in Cape Verde. Associated cetacean research activities are on the way.


The aim is to make Sao Nicolau Island an internationally recognized nature-based tourist destination. Currently, work is being done to carry out a proposal to initiate a long-term cetacean research program in Sao Nicolau that includes science, conservation, education and sustainable development.

Lead Applicant: