In Galveston Island State Park, a routine survey has uncovered a nest of 107 extremely precious turtle eggs belonging to a Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle’ a species listed as Critically Endangered, it is the most at-risk sea turtle on the globe.
It’s been a long, lonely decade for Texas A&M’s Sea Turtle Patrol; they haven’t found a Lone Star State turtle nest since 2012. The exhilarating discovery ended in mid-May when the eggs were transported to an incubation center, where there chances of survival raise from a pittance to a near-certainty.
Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle is a smoother, smaller turtle than more widely-known species like the Green, Loggerhead, or Hawksbill sea turtles. It’s one of just two members of the genus Lepidochelys and has been on the Earth for around 160 million years in its current form.
Widely dispersed around Mexico, in the U.S. they have been found only in Texas. In 1947, aerial surveys recorded on the beaches of Rancho Nuevo, Mexico, confirmed that this species used to come ashore by the tens of thousands but catastrophic population lost followed.
“A lot of nesting habitat for the Kemp’s Ridley has been lost to storms, high tide and predation, which is why it is important to transport these nests to an environment where they have the best chance for survival into adulthood,” said Christopher Marshall, Professor of Marine Biology at Texas A&M University at Galveston and Director for the Gulf Center for Sea Turtle Research.
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