The 2008 Sea Turtle Nesting Season

The scientific name of the Kemp's ridley is Lepidochelys kempii.
If you find a Kemp's ridley coming ashore, do not approach her until after she has begun laying eggs.

NPS photo

During 2008, the National Park Service conducted a program to detect, study, and protect nesting Kemp’s ridley sea turtles and sea turtle nests on North Padre Island, including Padre Island National Seashore. This program was made possible due to funding from the federal government, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and a variety of partners and donors, and the aid of over 132 volunteers.

Kemp’s ridley turtles nest on the Texas coast between April and mid-July. For the 2008 nesting season, Padre Island National Seashore staff and volunteers patrolled daily from April 1 through July 14. These patrols were conducted during daylight hours, from about 6:30 am until 6:00 pm, since Kemp’s ridley turtles nest mostly during the day. Staff and volunteers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Texas, Texas A&M University at Galveston, Sea Turtle, Inc., Sea Turtle Restoration Project, and other entities also searched for nesting Kemp’s ridley turtles and their eggs on other Texas beaches. Nesting turtles, tracks, and nests were located by patrollers, others working on the beach, and beach users.

When possible, nesting turtles were examined for tags and tagged to determine if they were from the project to re-establish a nesting colony of Kemp’s ridley sea turtles at the National Seashore and whether they had nested and been tagged previously.

We attached satellite transmitters to the first four Kemp’s ridley turtles found nesting at the National Seashore in 2008. This study was initiated in 1997 and information gathered was used to predict where and when the turtles might nest again within this nesting season, to aid with nest detection efforts. Data are also being gathered on where the turtles go between and after nesting. Maps of the movements of these four adult Kemp’s ridleys can be viewed at http://www.seaturtle.org/tracking/ under the Padre Island National Seashore Kemp’s Ridley Project.

During 2008, a record 195 Kemp’s ridley nests were found on the Texas coast. This was the fourth consecutive year that record numbers of nests were found since the National Seashore began maintaining state records in 1980. Record breaking news this year was the nesting of one Leatherback turtle; this was the first time since the 1930s, that a Leatherback has nested on the Gulf beaches. She only laid two eggs, and unfortunately they did not survive. Three loggerhead nests, and five green turtle nest were also found in Texas during 2008. Most nests were located in south Texas and areas where the nests were found are listed below.

Eggs from sea turtle nests found at Padre Island National Seashore and northward along the Texas coast were transported to our incubation facility for protected care and monitoring. The hatchlings from the eggs were released at the Malaquite Beach area of the National Seashore when they emerged from their eggshells and become active. The public was invited to the releases of hatchlings held at the National Seashore and over 2,000 people attended. All hatchlings from eggs found during 2008 have been released and there will not be any additional public releases during 2008. Releases will resume in late-May or early-June 2009.

KEMP’S RIDLEY SEA TURTLE NESTS FOUND ON THE TEXAS COAST DURING 2006

Location Found

Number of Nests

Padre Island National Seashore (PAIS)

93

South Padre Island

40

Galveston Island

6

Boca Chica Beach

12

Matagorda Island

13

North Padre Island (north of PAIS)

11

Mustang Island

5

Surfside Beach

2

Bolivar Peninsula

6

San Jose Island

5

Brazonia County 1

Quintana Beach

1

Total

195


Leatherback Turtle Nests Found on the Texas Cost During 2008

Location Found

Number of Nest

Padre Island National Seashore

1


OTHER SEA TURTLE NESTS FOUND ON THE TEXAS COAST DURING 2006

Location Found

Number of Nests

Padre Island National Seashore

1 loggerhead

Mustang Island

1

South Padre Island

1 loggerhead

Padre Island National Seashore

4 Green

South Padre Island

1 Green

Total

8


Last updated: February 24, 2015

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Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 181300
Corpus Christi, TX 78480

Phone:

(361) 949-8068
This is the primary phone number for the Malaquite Visitor Center at Padre Island National Seashore.

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