Nest conservation program

Every year, multiple species of sea turtles come ashore to lay eggs on the beaches of South Padre Island and Boca Chica Beach. The most common nesting female we encounter is the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii). The Kemp’s ridley is considered critically endangered due to decades of egg harvesting in their primary nesting grounds of Rancho Nuevo, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Today, there are multiple government agencies and non-profit organizations in both Mexico and the United States working towards saving this critically endangered species of sea turtle. Since 2007, Sea Turtle, Inc. has participated in the bi-national efforts to protect the Kemp’s ridley and other species of sea turtles that come ashore to lay eggs. Between April 1 and August 15, our interns and volunteers conduct daily patrols in the 50 southernmost miles of Texas’ beaches looking for sea turtle nesting activity. If we encounter a nesting female, we carefully tag the turtle, take a biopsy sample, and collect morphometric data in collaboration with Dr. Donna Shaver’s mark and recapture program started at Padre Island National Seashore in 1991. Once the nesting female is safely back in the water, we excavate her eggs and relocate them to a hatchery for safe incubation. After a period of 45 to 55 days, hatchlings emerge from the nest cavities and we safely release them to the Gulf of Mexico under moonlight and away from city lights. When conditions allow, we hold public hatchling releases. To learn more about public hatchling releases click here.

Conservation around the World

Sea Turtle, Inc. is a proud advocate of other sea turtle conservation programs around the world. This year, we have provided financial support to a sea turtle hospital in Glyfada, Greece and a sea turtle nesting project in the southern beaches of Sri Lanka.

We also created a partnership with the Universidad Michoacána de San Nicolas and the communities of Colola and Mexiquillo in Michoacán, Mexico. Every year, we take a small group of tourists to participate in conservation efforts for the pacific black sea turtle in Colola, Michoacan. The funds generated from these eco-tours are given back to those communities to continue conservation efforts to protect pacific black and leatherback sea turtles.

To learn more about how you can participate in these tours, please email Mariana Devlin at

Turtle Releases

Once a patient has been approved for release by our veterinary staff, their release site is chosen depending upon the species of the turtle. 

Every public release will be announced on our social media pages.

Green sea turtles are usually released via a sunset cruise/dolphin watch boat trip in the Laguna Madre Bay here on South Padre Island, Texas.

Loggerheads are usually released on the Gulf side of Isla Blanca Park.

Kemp’s ridleys and hawksbills are taken on private, off-shore releases.

In 2019, a total of 49 sea turtles Nest Were Found at South Padre Island.

Break down of our 2019 nesting season

entangled in fishing line
with hooks
boat strikes
predator attacks
cold stuns
washed back post-hatchlings
stuck in rocks at jetties

Support Sea Turtle Inc.

Later this year, we are going to completely renovate and expand our hospital. When it is completed in 2020, our new veterinary clinic will include a surgical suite, treatment area, lead-lined x-ray room, and a blood work station. There will be a ground-to-ceiling viewing window into our treatment room/surgical suite which will allow for our visitors to watch treatments and procedures. Mark your calendars for summer 2020 to come check out our new hospital!

Patient needs can range from minor treatments to major surgery and long term care. Be a part of the journey through patient adoption.

Shop in our gift store to buy gifts for friends and family. This is a great way to support the mission of Sea Turtle, Inc.

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