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Record-Breaking Year for the Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle Restoration Project

Padre Island National Seashore

National Park News

A record 76 Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle nests have been reported on the Texas coast this year, up from 51 last year, the most since efforts to restore the endangered turtle began decades ago. On Thursday, May 31, 2006 the most recent ridley nest was detected at Padre Island National Seashore, the 51st at the National Seashore this year and the 76th for the entire Texas Coast.

Scientists noted that Texas has now exceeded the milestone mark of 50 nests during the last two years, indicating the rare turtle’s recovery represents a steady trend, not a fluke. This is just one of the many record-breaking results for the Texas Coast’s 2006 nesting season. On April 26, 2006, Padre Island National Seashore experienced their first record mass sea turtle nesting or “arribada” for the season. On that day, 10 Kemp’s ridley nests were found on the Texas Coast. Of those ten, nine were located at the National Seashore. This record was shattered on May 11, 2006 when 13 nests were detected on the Texas Coast, including 11 at the National Seashore. The arribadas on April 26 and May 11, 2006 exceed the largest previously seen on the Texas Coast of seven nests on May 29, 2005. “The hard work of turtle patrollers, reports from the public, and assistance from partners and the community helped make this record-breaking year possible,” stated Dr. Donna Shaver, Chief of Padre Island National Seashore’s Division of Sea Turtle Science and Recovery.

Padre Island National Seashore is leading the state in the number of nests found at a single location. The numbers that have been found strongly suggests the long-term efforts of a multi-agency partnership show very promising signs of success at re-establishing a nesting colony at Padre Island National Seashore as a second, major nesting site outside of Mexico. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Sea Turtle, Inc., University of Texas, Texas A&M University at Galveston, NOAA Fisheries, Sea Turtle Restoration Project, and others have a played a critical role in this restoration effort. Regardless of the current status of the project, continued protection of the critically endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles is necessary.

Staff at the National Seashore will hold public releases of hatchlings from these nests beginning the week of June 12, 2006. For more information about public releases, please visit the park’s website at www.nps.gov/pais and call the hatchling hotline at 361-949-7163.



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