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Bumper Nesting Year For Kemp’s Ridley Turtles

Padre Island National Seashore

National Park News

For more than 30 years, the National Park Service has participated in a multi-agency, bi-national project to increase Kemp’s ridley nesting at Padre Island National Seashore. 

Kemp’s ridley is the most endangered sea turtle species in the world, and the goal has been to form a secondary nesting colony at Padre Island as a safeguard against extinction for this species, which nests primarily at and near Rancho Nuevo, Mexico. More than half of the Kemp’s ridley nests recorded in the U.S. each year are located in the park.  Thanks to the hard work of many individuals, Kemp’s ridley nesting is increasing.

From April through mid-July each year, staff members and volunteers systematically search the Gulf of Mexico beachfront at Padre Island National Seashore to find, document, and protect nesting females and their eggs. Kemp’s ridley turtles often nest in synchronous emergences called arribadas. Twenty-nine Kemp’s ridley nests were found in the park on May 18th, the largest number of Kemp’s ridley nests recorded at any U.S. beach on a single day since record keeping began in the early 1980s.  In fact, it nearly doubles the previous single day record of 15 nests found at Padre Island National Seashore on May 19, 2010. 

Ninety-six Kemp’s ridley nests have been recorded in the park so far this year.  This is more than any other year since record keeping began, except 2009, when 117 nests were found.  Nesting could continue through mid-July. 

Each year, the public is invited to attend about 25 releases of hatchlings from Kemp’s ridley nests protected within the park. Thousands of people come to Padre Island to view these releases.  Releases have already begun this year, and are likely to continue through early August. 

For the latest nest tally and more information about hatchling releases, visit the Padre Island National Seashore website at the link below.  Updates about nesting and hatchling releases are also posted on the Facebook page entitled “Padre Island NS Division of Sea Turtle Science and Recovery.”


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