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More Kemp's Ridley Turtle Nests Found Along Texas Coast But Conservationists Still Concerned

Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle nests in Texas are up slightly from last year, but numbers are still low, which has some conservationists concerned. However, measures are being taken to protect them.

Credit Photos taken by National Park Service, at Padre Island National Seashore.

In 1947, before their population crashed, an estimated 40,000 Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles nested on the beach of Rancho Nuevo in Mexico in one day. It’s called synchronous emergence. Today, there are only a few thousand Kemp’s Ridleys in the world. 

Nests are counted up and down the Texas coast every year. This season there were 185 nests found, up from 159 last year, but there were none on either Bolivar Peninsula or Galveston Island.

Donna Shaver is chief of the Division of Sea Turtle Science and Recovery at Padre Island National Seashore.

"We’re worried about Kemp’s Ridleys overall, because Kemp’s Ridley is an endangered species, and recovery efforts have been ongoing for decades to try to save the species," Shaver says.

She says either no turtles nested on Bolivar Peninsula and Galveston Island or that the nests were missed during the monitoring. Kemp’s Ridleys like to nest on windy days, so it’s possible the nests were covered by sand.

"We need to continue to monitor the nesting beaches. We need to protect the eggs because that represents our next generation of nesters—so we can get good hatching success, protect those hatchlings as they crawl into the water. And there needs to be continued protection of the turtles of the marine environment," Shaver says.

Shaver says some of the dangers include getting entangled in debris, hit by boat propellers, or caught up in oil spills.