HRI and KEDT Present "Saving Sea Turtles: Preventing Extinction"

Press Release
Padre Island National Seashore Sea Turtle

The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) and KEDT will present the documentary "Saving Sea Turtles: Preventing Extinction" at 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 19, 2017 on KEDT. The documentary is narrated by HRI Founding Advisory Board Chair Sylvia Earle and features the work of Dr. Donna Shaver, Chief of the Division of Sea Turtle Science and Recovery at Padre Island National Seashore.

Late each autumn, hundreds of sea turtles strand on Cape Cod due to hypothermia. For more than 25 years, the New England Aquarium and the Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary have worked together to rescue, rehabilitate and release thousands of these sea turtles, mostly Kemp's ridleys, the world’s most endangered sea turtle. Over the last decade, the number of stranded turtles has steadily increased, but the late autumn of 2014 saw an unprecedented event as more than 1,200 cold-stunned sea turtles washed ashore. This massive wildlife emergency marshaled an inspiring response that reached from individuals to the federal government.  This feature length documentary also tells the larger natural history story of the Kemp’s ridley and how humans pushed a healthy population to the precipice of extinction and are now slowly helping it to recover.

Of the five sea turtle species that roam the Gulf of Mexico, the Kemp's ridley (Lepidochelys kempii) is the smallest and the most vulnerable. The Kemp's ridley's range is mainly in the Gulf of Mexico, but immature turtles, probably carried by the currents, often appear along the Atlantic coast, as far north as New England and Nova Scotia. Adults occur primarily in the Gulf of Mexico, with historic nesting occurring mainly along the coast of Texas and Mexico. In 1978, the U.S. joined Mexico in efforts to try to save the species from extinction and recover the population. Multi-agency, international programs were developed, including an attempt to increase nesting by this indigenous species at Padre Island National Seashore to form a secondary nesting colony at a protected beach in the U.S., as a safeguard against extinction. Extensive conservation efforts have continued for Kemp's ridley in Mexico and the U.S., including the Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle Recovery Project conducted at Padre Island National Seashore.

For more check out "Saving Sea Turtles: Preventing Extinction" at 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 19, 2017 on KEDT.