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 critically endangered due to decades of egg harvesting in their primary nesting grounds of Rancho Nuevo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, and mortality related to shrimp fisheries before the implementation of Turtle Excluder Devices (TED) . 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 as a part of collaborative studies. 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.
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.
Sea Turtle Hatchling releases
Our number one priority is to make sure sea turtle hatchlings make it to the Gulf of Mexico as soon as they hatch. Generally, it happens right in the middle of the night. However, sometimes hatchlings emerge as the sun is rising, and we are able to hold a public release. Your chance of seeing a public hatchling release increases when a lot of nests are expected to hatch at the same time. Look at the calendar below to see how many nests we have protected and the expected dates of hatching.
*2021 Public Hatchling Releases have not been determined at this time. Please engage on our Facebook page for the latest and to view our virtual releases.
2021 Nesting Season By The Numbers
Break down of our 2021 nesting season
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Later this year, we are going to completely renovate and expand our hospital. When it is completed in 2021, 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 2021 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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