Off the coast of Louisiana’s Chandeleur Islands, state officials spotted baby sea turtles for the first time in 75 years on Wednesday.
Kemp’s ridley turtle eggs were found by the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) in the Breton National Wildlife Refuge. In a press release, these organizations affirmed that this was the first sighting of its kind in the islands in at least 75 years.
In addition to seeing two alive hatchlings making their way to the water, 53 “crawls” (lines in the sand that indicate the presence of more turtles) were recorded. Researchers confirmed that the hatchlings were in fact endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles. As a result of the crawls, authorities were able to determine the presence of loggerhead sea turtles, a species that is in danger of extinction.
Groups’ conservation efforts have been credited with bringing the baby turtles back.
In a press release, CRPA Chairman Chip Kline said, “Louisiana was largely written off as a nesting spot for sea turtles decades ago, but this determination demonstrates why barrier island restoration is so important.”
Kline went on to say that “as we create and implement projects across the state, we are always mindful of what is required to protect our communities and improve wildlife habitat.” “Now that we know this, we can ensure that turtles and other wildlife regularly visit our shores.”
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Organizations in Louisiana are “very excited” about the discovery, which they credit to their previous efforts.
Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Leopoldo Miranda-Castro said that the USFWS and its partners have been working hard “to restore wildlife and habitat in the Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill through planning and implementing numerous projects, including on the Chandeleur Islands.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that the longest Kemp’s ridley turtle ever recorded was only two feet long. Several different kinds of turtles frequent the region because of the abundance of seagrass beds that provide a healthy diet.
Since the months of June and July are prime nesting time, officials have stated that more nests may be found.
The first sea turtle nest to be found in Mississippi in four years is just one example of the state’s reviving wildlife population. To the best of the IMMS’s knowledge, this nest is the first sea turtle nest on Mississippi’s mainland since 2018.
Crews combing the shores of Pass Christian Harbor, Mississippi, on August 1st uncovered the nest, which contained eggs that would hatch in about 50-60 days.
Until the eggs hatch, the turtle’s species remains a mystery. The president and executive director of the IMMS, Moby Solangi, told the Associated Press that they are probably loggerhead sea turtles or another clutch of Kemp’s ridley sea turtles.
Solangi thinks it’s good news for sea turtles that the nest was found, especially in light of the BP Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill in 2010.
“After so many ecological catastrophes, this is encouraging news. Decreased numbers of turtles indicate problems in the ecosystem that provides for them “The Sun Herald quotes Solangi. When animals resume mating, it usually means that conditions have improved.
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