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Kemp’s ridley turtle releases off to a slow start this year

Posted: 9:53 PM, Apr 30, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-30 23:28:50-04

Kemp’s ridley turtle releases are always a popular event for area residents and visitors to witness.

But this year, the number of nesting spots are down at Padre Island National Seashore.

“So far this year, four Kemp’s ridley nests have been located on the Texas coast,” said Dr. Donna Shaver, chief of the Division of Sea Turtle Science and Recovery at Padre Island National Seashore. “Two of those were found right here at Padre Island National Seashore.”

Every year around mid-April, the world’s most endangered sea turtle species emerges from our Texas waters and begins nesting.

It’s thought that only about one egg in 400 might produce an individual that survives to adulthood.

The number of nests found for this endangered species has fluctuated over the years and so far this season, numbers are low.

“It’s a slow start to the year,” Shaver said. “We would have liked to see higher numbers so far. It could be degradation of the foraging habitat from the oil spill or from other causes. We’re still investigating to try to find out.”

There are certain things you can do to help Kemp’s ridley sea turtles and their nests.

“If someone’s lucky enough to find a nesting turtle if they would just stay back, observe what the turtle is doing and keep people back,” Shaver said. “Call us immediately if you can. If you can get cell phone service, call my telephone number at my desk.”

Every nest is important to protect because among some of these turtles are a future generation of nesters.