Ridley turtle release
A&M University at Galveston marine expert Dr. Andre
Landry and wildlife and fisheries graduate student Erin
Seney released an endangered Kemp's Ridley turtle into the
Gulf of Mexico near Sabine Pass on Tuesday (Sept. 21), one
day after placing a satellite tagging device on it to monitor
its movements so more can be learned about the marine creatures.
Andre Landry Jr., director of the Sea Turtle and Fisheries
Ecology Lab at Texas A&M University at Galveston, watched
as Erin Seney placed the satellite tag - those that use
global positioning systems - on the turtle's shell Monday.
The turtle was released into the water near the McFaddin
National Wildlife Refuge, about 50 miles east of the Texas
A&M University at Galveston campus. It marked the first
time in more than ten years that such a tag has been placed
on the turtles by Texas A&M University at Galveston
will track the turtle through a website where data will
be fed located at
www.seaturtle.org/tracking. Dr. Michael Coyne, a former
student of Texas A&M University, is currently running
the very near future, the public should be able to log onto
this website and track the turtle we’ve released. It will
also be available for the turtle adoption program which
will provide funds to continue working in the turtle program,”
says the device will help researchers learn more about the
Kemp's Ridley turtle, whose numbers were dangerously low
20 years ago but in recent years has been able to make a
satellite tag will transmit critical information to us about
the turtle's feeding grounds, migratory habits and key environmental
parameters," Landry says.
particular turtle was caught by a Texas fisherman on a pier
whose operators correctly notified wildlife authorities.
We have placed a tag on it and released it Tuesday. The
data we'll receive should be very informative and hopefully
will tell us more about these creatures so we can expedite
their full recovery from an endangered status."
the 1980s, the Kemp's Ridley turtle faced extinction. Only
an estimated 350 nesting females were known to exist worldwide.
nesting beach is south of Brownsville, Texas, on the Mexican
coast, but the Texas coastline has recently been the site
of 42 Ridley nests, the largest on record, Landry says.
With proper management, the nesting population now numbers
an estimated 3,000 females, but the creatures still face
an uncertain future, Landry adds.
predators on young turtle hatchlings, as well as man's activities
including by-catch in fishing nets, may kill up to 90 percent
of all Kemp's Ridley turtles," Landry points out.
Mexico, they are prized for their shells, which are made
into jewelry, and the skin can be made into leather-like
materials. Their eggs are considered an aphrodisiac in some
the turtle is found primarily along the Texas and Gulf coast
area, some have been located as far north as Long Island,
turtle which was released - a juvenile - is about the size
of a dinner plate. When fully grown, it will double its
Ridley turtles can live up to 50 years in their natural
female can lay up to 110 eggs at once 3-4 times a year,
but large numbers of nests, eggs and hatchling Ridleys fall
prey to natural predators such as raccoons, coyotes, lizards
and marine life.
need to do everything we can to save the Kemp's Ridley from
disappearing altogether," Landry says. "We've
made good progress in recent years, but not enough to go
from a state of 'endangered' to a lower state of 'threatened.'
We still have a lot of work to do before we can say the
Ridley is not an endangered species."
Contact: Andre Landry at (409) 740-4989