“Good news/bad news for the endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle in Texas”

This is the first year that such a sharp decline of nesting Kemp’s Ridley have been documented on their home beach in Rancho Nuevo, Mexico, in the state of Tamaulipas. In video footage from 1947 approximately 42,000 Kemp’s Ridley nested during that single day! About 80% of the nests, about 33,000, were collected and transported to local villages in that year. In 2006, about 12,143 nests were documented in Mexico, with 7,866 of those at Rancho Nuevo. The three main nesting beaches in Tamaulipas, Mexico are Rancho Nuevo, Tepehuajes, and Barra del Tordo. Nesting also occurs in Veracruz, Mexico, and Texas, U.S., but on a much smaller scale. Occasional nesting has been documented in North Carolina, South Carolina, and the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of Florida.

Kemp's Ridley sea turtle

Good news bad news

On the Texas coast, 251 Kemp’s Ridley nests were recorded from 2002-2006. For the 2007 nesting season, 127 nests have been recorded in Texas, with 73 of those nests documented at Padre Island, This nesting season has just begun and 21 Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles were found dead or dying on beaches in the Upper Texas Gulf Coast. Many areas lack the proper protection needed.  Federal officials and conservationists are concerned about unusually large numbers of dead Kemp’s Ridley turtles that have washed up on beaches along the upper Texas Gulf Coast since April 1.

The new rewrite of the endangered Kemp’s Ridley Recovery Plan is open for input until May 17, 2010. The current plan lacks adequate protection for the turtles on the Texas nesting beaches and offshore habitats.

The Sea Turtle Restoration Project needs your help to
Strengthen Recovery Plan for Texas Sea Turtles

Almost extinct 20 years ago, the Kemp’s Ridley appears to be on the road to recovery. Upper Texas Gulf Coast can expect greater numbers of turtles and must get greater habitat protections to strengthen our recovery efforts. The current Recovery Plan looks ahead 10-20 years assuming continued population growth, ignoring deaths by shrimp trawls, beach vehicle traffic, and habitat destruction these endangered species need strong protections.  We have until May 17 to ask the Recovery Plan Committee to update their Plan to include greater protections for the growing numbers of Kemp’s rRdleys nesting on Texas beaches


Take Action to Protect Endangered Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles

We have until May 17, 2010 to ask the Recovery Plan Committee to update their Plan to include greater protections for the growing numbers of Kemp’s Ridleys nesting on Texas beaches.

Two ways you can help our efforts today:
1) Click here to send a letter to the National Marine Fisheries Service urging greater protections for Texas Kemp’s ridleys.

2) Please donate to the Sea Turtle Restoration Project, Adopt a Nest, or make a large contribution and receive an onyx carved turtle.

Thank you for your continued support of our beloved and endangered Kemp’s Ridleys sea turtles at the  Island National Seashore. Those 127 nests are a record for the Texas coast, passing the 2006 record of 102 nests.

We have until May 17 to ask the Recovery Plan Committee to update their Plan to include the growing numbers of Kemp’s ridleys nesting on Texas beaches and accelerate the scientific process of identifying the most important marine foraging, breeding and inter-nesting habitat for these endangered sea turtles.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of  http://seaturtles.org

Excerpts courtesy of  http://www.nps.gov/pais/naturescience/kridley.htm

Image courtesy of  Nature’s Crusaders library

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