What a crazy couple of weeks. With nesting season ending, hatching season has arrived in full swing! Last week we had 5 early-morning releases in a row. What this means is getting to the visitor center at 6am and greeting the visitors and answering any questions they might have relating to the turtles and any other topic under the sun. The rangers give a short presentation about the turtles’ history and the reason they are the most endangered species of sea turtle in the world. Their range of distribution is pretty limited, with most turtles staying in the warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico. There was once recorded over 40,000 female turtles nesting in one day at Rancho Nuevo, Mexico! Then, unfortunately, humans began to over-harvest the eggs and grown adults for food. Many turtles would also get caught in fishing nets and drown. The numbers dwindled to only 200 recorded females nesting annually! Steps have been taken to help this species and the population has increased since the initial decline, but efforts are still needed. The work done here at Padre Island is vital for the continued recovery of this amazing species.

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A newly-hatched Kemp’s ridley
Tracks into the sea
Tracks into the sea

On another note, you may see Padre Island National Seashore coming to a screen near you! The guys from Rock the Park came to pay the seashore a visit! In case you haven’t heard of it, Rock the Park follows two guys as they make their way across America’s National Parks. They document their experiences and show how truly breathtaking the natural world can be. They filmed a sea turtle release, went on a turtle patrol looking for nesting females, and trekked through the snake/tick-infested dunes. A ranger and I also went on a trek through the dunes and found some pretty cool wildlife. Below are some pictures of the many kinds of wildlife you can find at the park. Enjoy!

Black-necked Stilt
Black-Necked Stilt
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Common Buckeye
Mexican Ground Squirrels
Mexican Ground Squirrels
Portuguese Man o' War
Portuguese Man o’ War
Firewheel
Firewheel
Blue-Eyed Grass
Blue-Eyed Grass