Louisiana officials site world’s smallest sea turtles for first time in 75 years


An endangered species of sea turtle was discovered nesting this summer on the beaches of Louisiana’s Chandeleur Islands for the first time in 75 years.

Kemp’s tiny Ridley turtles were spotted by a crew who had studied the birds but noticed the sea turtle tracks, said Matthew Weigel, coastal resources scientist for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. , to the Associated Press.

“Louisiana was widely considered a nesting ground for sea turtles decades ago, but this determination shows why restoring barrier islands is so important,” said the president of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. , Chip Kline, in a press release.

The CRPA and LDWF were flying weekly over the island to search for other leads. During a walk on July 29, Weigel came across traces of newborn babies on the beach. After tracking them, the crew found a nest with two newly hatched turtles making their way to the ocean.

A crew surveying the Chandeleur Islands discovered traces of endangered turtles, officials said on August 17, 2022.
PA
The president of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority said Louisiana is a resting place for all sea turtles.
The president of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority said Louisiana is a resting place for all sea turtles.
PA

“There were high-fives going on,” he told AP.

Weigel said aerial surveys found 52 sets of tracks that experts identified as Kemp’s ridley, although some were “fake crawls” where no nests were made. CRPA claims that more than 53 sea turtle crawls have been documented.

ACPL, along with the LDWF, had been monitoring the Chandeleur Islands since May as part of the Regional Administrators Implementation Group’s efforts to restore the islands, which were nearly decimated by the April 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Even before the spill, sea turtle hatchlings had not been seen on the islands since 1947, CRPA said.

Restoration groups hope the hatchlings represent an influx of nesting habitat for years to come.

“The discovery of successfully nesting and hatching sea turtles is a huge step forward demonstrating the incredible resilience of fish and wildlife resources, including threatened and endangered species, and the importance of restoring these barrier islands. to protect humans and nature,” said Leopoldo Miranda-Castro, regional director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Sea turtle hatchlings have not been discovered on the island since 1947, as officials say more than 53 sea turtle crawls have been documented.
Sea turtle hatchlings have not been discovered on the island since 1947, as officials say more than 53 sea turtle crawls have been documented.
PA

USFWS Exploration Survey data indicates that loggerhead sea turtles – federally listed as threatened – also nest on the islands. Loggerheads were discovered nesting on Grand Isle in 2015, about 80 miles from the Candlemas Islands. At the time, it was the first confirmed sea turtle nesting on the Louisiana coast in over 30 years.

The groups hope to discover more nests on the Chandeleur Islands: the peak of the sea turtle nesting season is from June to July with young hatching 50 to 60 days later.

News of the Louisiana sea turtles comes just weeks after beach crews discovered the first sea turtle nest — also Kemp’s rare Ridley sea turtle — on the Mississippi mainland in four years.

New York Post

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