Apr 1, 2024 - News

How to protect nesting sea turtles on Texas beaches

Photo of two sea turtles.

Kemp's ridley sea turtles are the smallest species of sea turtle, measuring about 2 feet long and weighing up to 100 pounds. Photo: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

It's sea turtle nesting season in Texas. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is asking beach visitors to drive slowly and not disturb nest sites to protect the imperiled sea turtles.

Why it matters: Both the endangered Kemp's ridley and the threatened loggerhead and green sea turtles nest along the Texas coast.

What to do: "Driving slowly on the beach during nesting season is crucial," says Mary Kay Skoruppa, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sea turtle coordinator for Texas.

  • If you come across a nesting sea turtle, call 1-866-TURTLE-5 (1-866-887-8535).
  • Visitors are asked to remain at the site until a biologist arrives or, if that's not possible, to carefully mark the site.

State of play: Kemp's ridley sea turtles are particularly vulnerable, as they nest during the day and sometimes blend into the sand. They enter a "trancelike" state while nesting and occasionally choose to nest in tire ruts areas.

Meanwhile, biologists and volunteers from organizations like the National Park Service, Texas A&M University at Galveston, the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, and Sea Turtle Inc. patrol Texas beaches throughout the nesting season.

Flashback: In 2023, 256 Kemp's ridley nests were found in Texas.

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