During a morning beach cleanup, a park board crew came across a Kemp’s ridley turtle nest, the first spotting of the critically endangered sea turtle in Galveston this season.
Shortly before 6 a.m. Monday, the park board crew called in the turtle spotting near 38th Street and Seawall Boulevard. Joanie Steinhaus of the Turtle Island Restoration Network and a team from Texas A&M University at Galveston responded to the call.
The windy conditions were perfect for nesting, which was likely why the healthy Kemp’s ridley ended up on the beach, Steinhaus said.
“She was healthy, beautiful, very strong and actually quite calm,” Steinhaus said.
Within 30 minutes, the team had taken a small sample of DNA and tagged the turtle so it can be tracked, Steinhaus said. The 95 eggs she produced will be packed and shipped to the Padre Island National Seashore to be hatched. The young turtles eventually will be released into the wild, she said.
The adult turtle was taken back into the Gulf and released, she said.
About one turtle each season picks a seawall beach to nest on, Steinhaus said.