Texas Beach Visitors Can Now Report Turtle and Nest Sightings
Houston…Today, the Gulf Office of the Sea Turtle Restoration Project and HEART (Help Endangered Animals-Ridley Turtles) announced the sponsorship of a toll free Texas Sea Turtle Information Line. This number allows beach visitors to report sightings of sea turtles and their nests along the Texas coasts, and will allow government agencies and biologists to better respond to protect these endangered species if needed.
“Since four Kemp’s ridley sea turtles nested on the north Texas coast last year, we are asking visitors to all Texas beaches to be vigilant and report any activity,” said Carole Allen, Gulf Office Director for Sea Turtle Restoration Project and HEART. “We need everyone’s help to report sea turtles, tracks, nests or hatchlings and the phone line will make it easy.”
Anyone who visits a Texas beach and sees a nesting turtle or its tracks, hatchlings, a turtle nest, or an injured or dead sea turtle is asked to call the toll free number 1-866-TURTLE-5. The caller will be furnished a telephone number for a sea turtle biologist or government agency representative who is closest to the location of the turtle and be asked to make a second call to that person.
Allen added, “Turtles, eggs, eggshells and nests are protected by federal and state law. A nesting turtle should not be disturbed. If possible, the sea turtle should be photographed or video taped and the place where the turtle nested should be marked.”
Although increased law enforcement by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has reduced sea turtle deaths, numbers have historically become more frequent with increased shrimping activity. The Texas Sea Turtle Information Line can be used for the reporting of dead or injured sea turtles.
Agencies participating in this cooperative program include Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Park Service, the University of Texas system, Texas A&M University at Galveston, the Gladys Porter Zoo, U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.