Energy & Environment

Endangered sea turtle nest found at Galveston Island State Park for the first time in a decade

The nest contained more than one hundred eggs laid by a Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle — one of the most endangered sea turtle species in the world.

Gerald Herbert / AP
Dr. Tres Clarke, a veterinarian for the Audubon Nature Institute, holds an endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle off the coast of Louisiana, Thursday on Jan. 29, 2015.

A nest of endangered sea turtle eggs was found on the beachside of Galveston Island State Park last week — the first nest found at the park in over a decade.

The nest contained 107 eggs laid by a Kemp's Ridley sea turtle, which is one of the most endangered sea turtle species in the world.

This was the first nest found at Galveston Island State Park since 2012, according to Christopher Marshall, a professor of Marine Biology at Texas A&M and director for the Gulf Center for Sea Turtle Research.

Once the nest was discovered, it was brought to an incubation facility at Padre Island National Seashore, Marshall said.

“Every egg matters,” Marshall said. "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."

Courtesy of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
A Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle nest was found May 19, 2022 at Galveston Island State Park. This is the first nest found at the park since 2012.

The species was almost lost in the 1980s until intensive conservation efforts were implemented on nesting beaches and through fisheries management, according to NOAA Fisheries. Bycatch — the intentional capture of non-target species while fishing — continues to be the biggest threat facing Kemp's Ridley sea turtles.

Marshall said the typical nesting season for the Kemp's Ridley sea turtle runs between April 1 and July 15. He urged anyone who finds a nest to stay at least 60 feet away and to call the Sea Turtle hotline at 1-866-TURTLE-5.

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