Egg news awaited the staff of Galveston Island State Park when they went to work this morning. A routine investigation by the Sea Aggie Sea Turtle Patrol revealed a nest of Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles containing 107 eggs in the beach-side dunes at Galveston Island State Park.
It was the first nest found in the park since 2012, and only one of three nests found in the park since the Turtle Patrol began keeping records. Once the nest was discovered, the Turtle Patrol and the Gulf Center for Sea Turtle Research began coordinating transportation of the nest to the Padre Island National Seashore incubation facility.
“Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle is one of the most endangered sea turtle species in the world, so every egg counts,” said Dr. Christopher Marshall, professor of marine biology at Texas A&M University in Galveston and director of the Gulf Center for Sea Turtle Research. . “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.
Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle nearly became extinct in the 1980s, Marshall added. If a nest were to be left on the beach, the eggs would have about a 45% chance of survival. In the incubation facility, survival rates can reach 95%.
“The Gulf Center for Sea Turtle Research appreciates the partnership with the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife, especially Galveston Island State Park,” Marshall said. “The park welcomes our volunteers and serves as a base for the turtle patrol on the upper coast. The partnership has been invaluable.
The typical nesting season for Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle is from April 1 to July 15. If anyone finds a nest, they should call the Sea Turtle Hotline at 1-866-TURTLE-5 and stay at least 60 feet away from the turtle or nest. .