World’s smallest, most endangered sea turtle found nesting in Louisiana Islands for the first time in 75 years – CBS News

Kemp’s ridley sea turtles used to thrive in the Gulf of Mexico, but since the mid-20th century their numbers have dwindled to the point that they are now the most endangered species of sea turtle in the world. But now, a small string of barrier islands off the coast of Louisiana offer hope.

For the first time in 75 years, baby sea turtles have been found in the Chandeleur Islands, the Lousiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. announce Wednesday. So far, they have found more than 53 crawling sea turtles and two youngsters were seen heading into the water.

Baby Ridley sea turtles from Kemp crawl along the shore as they make their way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority

“It’s an exciting discovery,” said Brian Hass, executive director of the CPRA. We hope to see additional youngsters emerge in the coming weeks and years.

The department said additional nests could be discovered in the coming weeks with the sea turtle nesting season just ending in July. Hatching usually appears about two months after the eggs are laid.

The Kemp’s ridley sea turtle is the smallest species of sea turtle in the world and has been listed as critically endangered in the United States since December 1970. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources He listed the species that live in the Gulf of Mexico, as follows Endangeredwhich means that they are in “too high risk from extinction in the wild.

Officials found loggerhead sea turtles, also listed as endangered by US officials, nest on the islands as well. Loggerhead turtles were first found nesting on Big Luciana Island in 2015, the first time in more than 30 years that sea turtles have nested along the state’s coast. Most of the species’ nesting takes place in Mexico.

“Louisiana has largely been written off as a sea turtle nesting site for decades, but this identification illustrates why barrier island restoration is so important,” said Chip Klein, president of the Restoration Authority, in a statement. “…this knowledge now allows us to make sure that these turtles and other wildlife return to our shores year after year.”

The agency said the discovery will further aid the island’s conversation plans and ensure habitat conservation.

“The islands have risen in value to the region,” Jack Montus, Louisiana’s Secretary of Wildlife and Fisheries, said in a statement. “We are gaining a better understanding of the benefits that restoring a barrier island may provide in restoring this endangered species across the Gulf of Mexico.”

The restoration agency and wildlife officials have been keeping a close eye on the island chain this year to help develop a restoration project. The Chandeleur Islands were destroyed by 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and “several tropical weather systems over the years,” the agency’s announcement said.

Kemp’s ridley sea turtles experienced a “devastating decline” between the late 1940s and mid-1980s, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They saw a steady increase through 2009, but in 2010, the same year Horizon in deep water The oil rig spilled about 134 million gallons of oil, and it ended abruptly. The species has struggled with nesting ever since.

today is Biggest Threats For Kemp turtles are turtles accidentally caught in fishing gear, human and animal predators, coastal development eliminating nest space, ship strikes, ocean pollution and climate change.

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