CORPUS CHRISTI, Tex. — Four Kemp's ridley sea turtle nests have been found along the South Texas coast this year, approaching the total for the previous 15 years, wildlife officials said.
Donna Shaver, a biologist with the National Biological Service, said she was hopeful that the increase means endangered Kemp's ridley turtles could be making a comeback in the United States.
"The signs are positive, but it's still too early to tell whether this is a turnaround," Shaver said.
Volunteers and national park staffers have documented four Kemp's ridley nests, or clutches, and one green turtle nest along Padre Island National Seashore and Mustang Island.
The four Kemp's ridley nests are the only ones found in the United States this year. Between 1979 and 1994, the turtles left only seven nests on Texas beaches.
All the eggs were taken to a wildlife incubation center for protective care from predators. Hatchlings from the nests were released recently into the Gulf of Mexico.
According to biologists, fewer than 1,000 adult Kemp's ridley sea turtles remain in the world.