Recently, the first Kemp Ridley sea turtle nest of the 2017 nesting season was found in Texas on South Padre Island. The nest was discovered on March 31 and set a new record for the earliest Kemp Ridley sea turtle nest laid of any sea turtle nesting season to date! As an endangered species, it is vital for scientists to keep track of the number of nests laid every season to gain an understanding of the status of their populations. Since the BP oil spill in 2010, their numbers have been declining but scientists and researchers are hoping that their populations will rise.
The Kemp Ridley nest was found by a local sea turtle patrol who is in charge of looking for sea turtle nests to help protect them from other wildlife, as well as egg poachers, during sea turtle nesting season. Scientists believe that this record-breaking early nest could be the result of a warmer than usual winter. They are also hoping that because of the warmer waters this year, it will be a chance for more female turtles to feed and be more likely to lay eggs this season - which is what the species needs! The eggs from this particular nest were relocated to a hatchery lab where they will be cared for and released to better their chances of survival for the endangered species.