A nest of endangered sea turtle eggs was discovered last week along the beach at Galveston Island State Park – the first nest found in the park in more than 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.
It was the first nest found at Galveston Island State Park since 2012, according to Christopher Marshall, professor of marine biology at Texas A&M and director of the Gulf Center for Sea Turtle Research.
After the nest was discovered, it was brought to an incubation facility at Padre Island National Seashore, Marshall said.
“Every egg counts,” Marshall said. “Much of the Kemp’s Ridley’s nesting habitat has been lost to storms, high tides and predation, which is why it’s important to transport these nests to an environment where they have the best chance of survival to adulthood.
The species nearly disappeared 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 to Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles.
Marshall said the typical nesting season for Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle is between April 1 and July 15. He urged anyone who finds a nest to stay at least 60 feet away and call the Sea Turtle hotline at 1-866-TURTLE-5.
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