Overview and Endangered Status of Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtles

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Sea turtles; there are currently seven different species swimming in the earth’s oceans. They are marine reptiles that have been around since dinosaurs walked the earth, give or take 150 million years (Texas Parks & Wildlife). And although these ancient creatures have been in the world way before Humans came into existence, it is ironic that all seven species of sea turtles are now endangered because of anthropogenic actions. Among the seven species, The Kemp’s Ridley is the most critically endangered. To ensure this species survival for the unforeseeable future, it must be understood why Kemp’s Ridley’s are critically endangered and what can be done to prevent the extinction of this species. Lepidochelys Kempii, or more commonly known as the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle or the Atlantic Ridley, is a part of the family Cheloniidea, and are the smallest of the seven species of sea turtles. In appearance, their shell reaches a length of about 28 inches and they can weigh up to 100 pounds. Their upper shell, also known as the carapace, is usually greyish-green in color and their bellies are white-yellowish, most likely for countershading. The Kemp’s Ridley are benthic feeders that generally prefer crabs but their diet also consists of jellyfish, shrimp, sea stars, mollusks, urchins, fish and although they are mostly carnivorous, they have been known to eat marine plants such as sargassum weed and algae (Reaves). The Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles are primarily found in the Gulf of Mexico and northwestern Atlantic Ocean. This species mainly nests on the coasts of Tamaulipas, Mexico, specifically Rancho Nuevo, where “nearly 95% of worldwide Kemp’s Ridley nesting occurs”. They are also found nesting in Veracruz, Mexico and the coasts of Texas o... ... middle of paper ... ... costa occidental del Golfo de Mexico. Ciencia, Méx. 22(4):105-112. Janiskee, Bob. "Creature Feature: The Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle Faces an Uncertain Future." National Parks Travelers. National Park Advocates, 21 May 2010. Web. 18 Nov 2013. . NOAA Fisheries. Kemp's Ridley Turtle (Lepidochelys kempii). National Marine Fisheries Service, 04 Mar 2013. Web. 18 Nov 2013. . Reaves, TPWD Bill, and TPWD Mary E. Candee. "Kemp’s’s Ridley Sea Turtle." Slattery, Phil. Padre Island National seashore. NPS Interpretive Development Program. Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle Program Data Sheet. Web. . Turtle Expert Working Group. 1998. An assessment of the Kemp’s

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