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Contact: Donna Shaver, 361-949-8173 ex 226
Padre Island National Seashore Prepares for the 2011 Kemp’s ridley Nesting Season
Superintendent Joe Escoto announced the staff at Padre Island National Seashore are preparing for the quickly approaching 2011 Kemp’s ridley nesting season. The nesting season typically begins in April and continues through mid-July; however, it is possible nesting could occur sooner. National Seashore staff and volunteers have been conducting early-season patrols to detect possible early nesting and protect nesting females from a variety of human related and natural threats.
Help from the public is needed and appreciated. The public has been helpful in finding and reporting nesting sea turtles documented on the Texas coast each year. Beach users are encouraged to watch for nesting and to report it immediately. If nesting is observed, it is very important to report it immediately by calling 1-866-TURTLE5 to obtain further instructions.
Nesting Kemp’s ridley sea turtles blend in very well with the sand, beach vegetation, and sargassum seaweed and can be very difficult to see; therefore, visitors traveling on the beach are strongly encouraged to drive carefully and comply with all posted speed limits. Because it is illegal to have in one’s possession a nesting sea turtle or sea turtle eggs, it is requested that all nesting sea turtles and their nests are reported immediately to the appropriate authorities.
Kemp’s ridley is the most endangered sea turtle species in the world and North Padre Island, including Padre Island National Seashore, is the most important Kemp’s ridley nesting beach in the U.S. Each year, the National Seashore leads the nation in the number of nests found at a single location. Increasing
numbers of nests have been found in recent years, strongly suggesting signs of success for the long-term efforts of a multi-agency partnership. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Sea Turtle, Inc., University of Texas, ARK, Texas A&M University at Galveston, NOAA Fisheries, Sea Turtle Restoration Project, and others play a critical role in these restoration efforts.
For more information about the long-term Kemp’s ridley sea turtle restoration project, how the public can help, and related educational programs open to the public, please call the Padre Island National Seashore Malaquite Visitor Center at 361-949-8068.