Transnational Efforts to Save Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles

Sep 26 2011

On September 22, NOAA’s Fisheries Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Mexican environmental officials released an updated plan to recover endangered populations of Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle. The current plan issued in 1992, has had successful conservation efforts for the sea turtle, but it is not yet delisted as an endangered species. 

The new plan aims at guiding research programs to help educate the public about the impact of human behavior and natural processes on the species, and providing criteria to delist the species from the endangered species list.  Scientists estimate that if current rates of increase and recruitment are maintained, there will be as many as “40,000 nesting females per season over a 6-year period by 2024”- a dramatic improvement from previous records of only 1,000 nesting individuals worldwide. 

According to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director, success of the partnership between U.S. and Mexican agencies has been highlighted by a record number of nests on the Texas coast, and a recent “massive arribada – a group nesting event – of about 9,000 Kemp’s ridleys was seen on the main nesting beach in Mexico”. 

This cute sea turtle nests on the beaches of the gulf coast, primarily on the north east coast of Mexico, and can be found nesting as far as Nova Scotia. It is known to be the world’s most endangered sea turtle as it has been victim to bycatch, and to the recent BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico.  It’s populations have also been exhausted from overharvesting of their eggs over the past century.  With the recent update of the recovery plan, and input from governmental agencies and local communities, the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle is now close to recovery and removal from the endangered speceis list!

Thanks to NOAA for the information!

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