Endangered Turtles Dying Mysteriously on Texas Gulf Coast

Over thirty turtles were found dead in the Bolivar Peninsula and Galveston. The nesting season commences in April, and this does mean a slight rise of turtles stranded on these very shores. However, scientists are baffled in the unusual rise in numbers as are they in the fact that most were found decomposed with little or no clues as to the cause of death.

Thirty five turtles were found stranded on these shores, with only three still alive. Thirty three of them were Kemp’s Ridleys, which is an endangered species that scientists have desperately been trying to save for many decades.

Researchers say that most of the turtles were found with wounds either from boat propellers or from being tangled in fishing nets, while some of the others were either emaciated or had parasites.

Lab Director of the NOAA Marine Fishery Laboratory in Galveston, Roger Zimmerman said that the upper Texas Coast always witnessed a rise in turtle mortality as turtles swam nearer to shore in order to nest – which also coincided with the shrimping season. This unusual rise in turtle deaths was baffling, and was a cause for concern, he said.

The huge oil spill which took place off the Louisiana coast is also being closely monitored by researchers. If the remnants of the spill start to move towards the Texas Gulf, then more Kemp Ridleys swimming towards the coast for nesting would be directly affected.

Shrimping has also been a cause blamed for the death of sea turtles. Most shrimpers tend to not install the Turtle Excluder Device (TED) which calls for an investment of $800.