San Antonio/ Parks & Nature
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Published on June 22, 2024
South Padre's Sea Turtle Inc. Races Against Tropical Storm to Save Endangered Sea Turtle NestsSource: Unsplash/ Marc-André Julien

In an urgent response to inclement weather conditions, South Padre-based Sea Turtle Inc. has been scrambling to protect endangered sea turtle nests as Tropical Storm Alberto swept through, posing a significant threat to local wildlife conservation efforts. Wendy Knight, CEO of Sea Turtle, Inc., revealed to Fox San Antonio that 93 sea turtle nests, harbouring upwards of 9,300 eggs, faced imminent danger due to the storm's unexpectedly severe flooding and winds.

The non-profit organization's team, spearheaded by Dr. Vanca, mobilized at a startling 3 a.m. enlistment of volunteers armed with shovels, to bolster the defenses around the fragile corral. "Dr. Vanca and her conservation team immediately went out at 3 a.m. with volunteers with shovels and tried to protect the corral, as we saw flooding start to rise and high water start to take over where the 93 nests and 9,300 eggs were being protected," Knight stated in an interview with Fox San Antonio.

While the battle with Mother Nature is an ongoing one, hope springs eternal this nesting season for the critically endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtle. Reporting an expectation of yet another record-breaking year, Sea Turtle Inc. is hoping to surpass last year's release of 1,700 hatchlings, riding the waves of their previous successes. Knight shared with My San Antonio that this period is "an exciting and exhausting time of year for the Sea Turtle Inc. staff and volunteers."

To prepare for a potential hat-trick of productive seasons, the non-profit diligently updates their website with the status and count of nests, estimated hatch dates, and anticipated public release timings – a calendar catered to ecological enthusiasts and concerned citizens alike. Knight urges beachgoers to engage in responsible tourism by removing their litter and belongings, filling any holes in the sand, and keeping a respectful distance from the nesting turtles, citing these actions as imperative to the survival of the species.