South Padre Island was the site of the first Kemp’s ridley nest recorded in Texas for the 2008 nesting season. The turtle was seen by a patrol from Sea Turtle, Inc., a conservation organization started by the late Ila Loetscher. The turtle had no tags or showed any evidence of being raised in captivity and laid 104 eggs which will be protected.
Patrols began in earnest on the entire Texas coast on April 1. 128 nests were found in 2007 breaking all previous records. The Kemp’s ridley was near extinction in 1985 when only 350 females were known to exist. Mexico and the United States have worked together for 30 years to protect beaches and adult turtles. Legislation requiring Turtle Excluder Devices on shrimp trawls to allow sea turtles to escape has been an important part of increasing numbers of this endangered sea turtle in the Gulf of Mexico.
Carole H. Allen, Gulf Office Director