Years ago, Edward Humes, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, called Carole Allen (me) in Houston and asked what I had done and continued to do to save the Kemp’s ridley sea turtles from extinction. After a long phone interview, weeks, months and years passed with no further contact. Frankly, I forgot all about it. A few weeks ago, I learned that Mr. Humes has published a book entitled Eco Barons: The Dreamers, Schemers and Millionaires Who Are Saving our Planet. Chapter 13 in the “Lone Wolves” section tells my story in “The Turtle Lady” chapter. (I’m either a dreamer or a schemer but not a millionaire.) Of course, the original turtle lady was the late Ila Loetscher of South Padre Island, Texas, who first endeared sea turtles to the hearts of the nation by appearing on Johnny Carson’s television show. She traveled with a small green sea turtle complete with a tiny sombrero and serape and was a very big hit.
Shortly after learning about the book, the Oprah Magazine contacted me and has included a brief story in the April 2009 issue.
Both the book and the article imply that my work for sea turtles concluded years ago which is far from the truth. Vigilance and action for an endangered species never ends. Law enforcement in the Gulf of Mexico continues to be needed to make sure shrimp trawls have turtle excluder devices properly installed and working. The battle goes on to convince the state of Texas to declare a sanctuary in Texas waters to protect nesting Kemp’s ridleys at the Padre Island National Seashore. The campaign to convince the US Fish and Wildlife Service to consider the upper Texas coast as critical habitat for the Kemp’s ridleys continues along with the need for renourishing of beaches following the damage done by Hurricane Ike. The publicity is great only if it benefits sea turtle conservation.