C and I were beach camping at Padre Island National Seashore when we came to know about the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle hatchling release program. The program is undertaken to protect and conserve sea turtles species found in the Gulf of Mexico.
Female Kemp’s ridley sea turtles swim to the land and lay eggs on the beach. They cover the eggs with sand and swim out to sea; they do not return to their eggs. They eggs lie covered in sand until hatchlings emerge. The eggs of these endangered species are at high risk of being eaten by predators. Park rangers find the nests and move them to protected beach areas or incubation facilities to increase survival rate of hatchlings. The park rangers then release newly hatched Kemps ridley turtles into the sea. The releases happen mid-June to August at sunrise and public ones draw many visitors.
We were fortunate to be camping in the park the night before and could easily reach Malaquite beach release area at sunrise. The release that we watched was one of the big ones with upwards of 60 turtles being released. The crowd cheered, clapped and encouraged each baby turtle in its nascent journey to meet the sea.
I visited Padre Island National Seashore in July 2013