Kemp's Ridleys Make History in Texas
On June 3, 23 Kemp's ridley nests were found on the Texas coast including 1 on Galveston Island, 3 on Matagorda Island, 1 on Mustang Island, 1 on North Padre Island north of Padre Island National Seashore, and 12 at Padre Island National Seashore, and 5 on South Padre Island. The 23 is the most Kemp's ridley nests documented on the Texas coast in a single day since record keeping began in 1980.
So far this year, 148 Kemp's ridley nests have been confirmed on the Texas coast including (north to south in state): Bolivar Peninsula 4 Galveston Island 5 Brazoria County, just north of Surfside 1 Surfside Beach 1 Matagorda Island 10 San Jose Island 3 Mustang Island 5 North Padre Island 81, including 71 at Padre Island National Seashore South Padre Island 31 Boca Chica Beach 7
The 148 nest total exceeds the previous record of 128 Kemp's ridley nests found in Texas set during 2007. This marks the fifth consecutive year that record numbers of Kemp's ridley nests have been recorded in Texas since record keeping began in 1980. This endangered sea turtle is a resident of the Gulf of Mexico and was hear extinction in the mid 80s.
This is the 30th anniversary year of a cooperative program between the Republic of Mexico and the United States to prevent their extinction which began in 1978. The US federal requirement to place Turtle Excluder Devices on shrimp trawls to allow sea turtles to escape drowning combined with protection of the beaches in Mexico and the US and a vigorous program of releasing hatchlings is credited with the increased population of ridleys.
"After working to protect the Kemp's ridleys for 26 years, I can tell you this is a very happy day," said Carole Allen, Gulf Office Director of the Sea Turtle Restoration Project and founder of HEART (Help Endangered Animals-Ridley Turtles) in 1982. "There are many heroes and heroines to thank, but thousands of school children, many now adults, should also be thanked for writing letters to the government asking for protection for sea turtles."