Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Record Year Continues for Nesting Sea Turtles at Laguna Atascosa NWR in June 2008
Southwest Region, June 30, 2008
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USFWS-06/2008/Isla Blanca In-situ Nest-Kemp's ridley sea turtle eggs and hatchlings from an in-situ nest.
USFWS-06/2008/Isla Blanca In-situ Nest-Kemp's ridley sea turtle eggs and hatchlings from an in-situ nest. - Photo Credit: n/a

Sea Turtle Inc. partners with Laguna Atascosa and Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuges to conduct the South Texas Sea Turtle Nesting Project each summer.  Through this project, interns, volunteers, and staff search for and protect nesting Kemp’s ridley and other sea turtles and their nests on South Padre Island and Boca Chica beaches in southernmost Texas.  This has proven to be a record year for Kemp’s ridley sea turtle nesting, with record numbers of nests found in the project area and in Texas. 

One nesting turtle was found mortally wounded with a large, severe open wound in her upper shell.  This turtle died at the scene and was taken to the Gladys Porter Zoo, where examination revealed the turtle had been cracked open and her spine severed by a heavy object, such as a vehicle, at that site and within an hour of when she was found.  The injury occurred while the female was sitting over the nest cavity attempting to deposit eggs.  After she died, 65 eggs were retrieved from her ovaries and deposited into a protective corral in the hopes that some of them may hatch.  This turtle was tagged and had been documented nesting once before in 2008 and twice in 2006.  This is the second adult nesting female found mortally wounded on South Padre Island in 2008.  Both turtles were tagged and had been previously documented nesting in this project area.  Both turtles appear to have been killed by vehicles on the beach. 

Through the end of June, a total of 52 sea turtle nests have been documented through this project, including 51 Kemp’s ridley and 1 green sea turtle nest.  As of the end of June, 28 sea turtle nests have hatched in the protective corral.  These 28 nests included 2,701 eggs and resulted in 2,183 hatchlings, .  Fourteen public hatchling releases attended by approximately 5,830 visitors have been held thus far.  The total of 52 sea turtle nests represents more than double the previous record of 23 sea turtle nests found in this same area last year.

Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov
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