Sea turtle update – track a Ridley from your computer

Kemp’s Ridley hatchling courtesy of Sea Turtle Inc.Once there were tens of thousands of adult Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico. As unbelievable as it sounds, there is a 1947 film that shows an estimated 42,000 nesting on one Mexican beach in a single day!Ridley’s are now the most endangered sea turtle in the world. It is estimated that there are only about 4,500 adult Ridley’s in the Gulf of Mexico today.Females can lay over 100 eggs. And do it as many as three times during the March to August nesting season. Like many species, few will survive to adulthood. The oil slick and dispersants from the BP drilling disaster pose a great hazard to sea turtle survival.This season, the Padre Island National Park, south of Corpus Christi, Texas has identified about 100 Ridley’s nests. Sea Turtle Inc., on South Padre Island has collected eggs from about 30 nests. “Lavender” release courtesy of National Marine Life CenterTexas A & M University and the National Parks Service attach satellite tracking devices to turtles each year. After nesting season many turtles navigate up the Texas coast, into Louisiana waters to the Florida Keys and even the Atlantic coast. You can follow these turtles on your computer daily.Karen and Kathy laid eggs near Galveston in May. They are now near the oil at Barataria Bay, close to the deadly oil. There are 3 other turtles just west of the BP Deepwater Horizon. Their lives could also be in danger.Follow these links to track other turtles:Ridley female #47562 mother of 119 eggs laid May 24 at Padre Island National Seashore Ridley female #47519 mother of 120 eggs laid April 29 at Padre Island National SeashoreAnd “Will” an adult male, a “ramblin’ kind of guy” who has travelled to and from Texas this year.Compare their location with the oil spill at this New York Times interactive oil spill map.Ellis Pickett is GRN’s Texas Campaign Organizer

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