IUCN threat status:

Critically Endangered (CR)


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Kemp's Ridley Turtle is found mainly in the Gulf of Mexico. This species breeds in large nesting aggregations. At Rancho Nuevo, the primary nesting beach for this species in Tamaulipas, Mexico, 42,000 females came ashore to nest on a single day in 1947. By 1989, the number of females nesting on this beach had dropped to 545. Intensive conservation efforts in subsequent decades have been at least somewhat successful: the number of nesting females at Rancho Nuevo was well in excess of 2000 by 2003, with the population apparently continuing on a positive trajectory, and the total number of adult females present in the Gulf of Mexico was estimated to be around 5,000 in 2004. Adults are most often seen off southwestern Florida, much less commonly in the western Gulf. Juveniles range much more widely, to the eastern, western, and north Atlantic Ocean. Nearly all Kemp's Ridley nesting for the world population occurs at Rancho Nuevo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, but nesting has also been reported from beaches in Vera Cruz, Tabasco, and Campeche (Mexico); Colombia; Brevard, Lee, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Sarasota, and Volusia Counties in Florida (U.S.A.); Georgia (U.S.A.); and South Carolina (U.S.A.). Active efforts to establish nesting at several sites in south Texas (U.S.A.) have been successful. Hatchlings apparently spend the first two years of life drifting around the Gulf of Mexico in floating patches of Sargassum Weed (Ernst and Lovich 2009 and references therein).


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© Shapiro, Leo

Source: EOL Rapid Response Team


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