The first Kemp’s ridley sea turtles of the season have arrived to lay their eggs on the beaches of Tamaulipas, where the state government is supporting local conservationists in their efforts to ensure that the hatchlings have the best possible chance at survival.
April marks the beginning of the ancient marine reptile’s nesting season in Tamaulipas. They arrive by the thousands to nest on the beaches of La Pesca and Tepehuajes in the municipality of Soto La Marina, and continue arriving until August.
Over 95% of the world’s Kemp’s ridley turtles nest on the beaches of Tamaulipas. It is the smallest sea turtle species in the world and the only one known to lay eggs during daylight, making it and its eggs especially vulnerable to predators and poachers.
Governor Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca said his administration has coordinated with the state Environment Ministry’s Parks and Biodiversity Commission to provide local conservation centers with the resources they need to protect the nests, hatchlings and mothers.
The program has released 150,000 Kemp ridley hatchlings during his administration.
State Environment Minister Gilberto Estrella Hernández said the program has had a positive effect on Kemp’s ridley populations, and researchers have observed their numbers grow significantly in recent seasons.
Local conservationists protect the nests and safeguard the hatchlings until climactic conditions are ideal to release them into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The incubation period for Kemp’s ridley eggs is 45-60 days, depending on the temperature of the sand.
Six of the world’s seven sea turtle species make their way to beaches on Mexico’s Gulf and Pacific coasts to nest, and the Kemp’s ridley isn’t the only one to lay its eggs in the sand of the Tamaulipas shores. The hawksbill, leatherback, loggerhead and green sea turtles also visit the state during nesting season.