Friday, June 08, 2007

Help Sea Turtles Make it to the Sea

Twenty years ago I wrote a magazine article about Kemp’s ridleys, the rarest of the world’s seven sea turtles. They had been found in Long Island Sound and, with one thing leading to another, I ended up writing a piece about them for a now-defunct magazine called … I forget, actually. In any case, back then, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was in the very early stages of a program to establish a new nesting area, on the Gulf Coast of Texas, as insurance against something happening to the ridleys’ main nesting beach, in Mexico. They were hatching turtles under controlled conditions, I think, and then releasing them from the beach at Padre Island National Seashore, in hopes that they’d return there to nest. But as of 20 years ago, none had.

That was then. Last year there were 102 female Kemp’s ridleys returned to the beach to nest. And hatchlings are still being raised and escorted to the sea. If you like south Texas in summer, you can go help (Sam, how’s the weather down there in mid-summer?) Details are here, in the Times Escapes section. There’s also a lot more here, in a chapter of my book that I wrote and then decided to leave out.

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