If you drive the beach on South Padre Island this time of year, you may see one of the most fascinating rituals in nature.
Kemps Ridley sea turtles are emerging from the Gulf of Mexico to lay their eggs. The gentle creatures were brought to the edge of extinction by nest predation on their primary nesting beach at Rancho Nuevo, just north of Tampico Mexico.
The sea turtles are now protected and are making a dramatic comeback in Mexico and on South Padre Island. Jeff George with Sea Turtle, Inc. on South Padre Island said nesting season is just getting underway.
Officials with Sea Turtle, Inc. are anticipating a record year. So far we are at the beginning of the season, and we have had only seven nests on South Padre Island and Boca Chica Beach, but we are predicting here about 75 nests, George said. Sea Turtle, Inc. is warning area residents and visitors to be on the lookout for nesting turtles. It is important to remember three things: one, that these animals are endangered species and any form of harassment is against state and federal law, two, it is important to contact somebody so we can preserve the eggs of this animal, and three, it is important to stay behind the turtle so you don TMt accidentally frighten her back into the ocean, George said. Anyone who sees turtles nesting on the beach are asked to call Sea Turtle, Inc. at (956) 761-4511 or U.S. Fish and Wildlife at (956) 748-3607.