Sea Turtle Ambassador to Make Waves for Kemp’s Ridley Conservation
Critically endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles have one more advocate on their side with the Gladys Porter Zoo’s new sea turtle mascot. The mascot will be visiting the Gladys Porter Zoo at 9 a.m. on Friday, June 29, 2012. Representatives from the Zoo and Sea Turtle Inc. of South Padre Island will tour the Zoo providing information about sea turtle conservation efforts done in the United States and Mexico.
The story of a sole surviving ridley turtle from the freeze of 2011 inspired the creation of the mascot. In the winter of 2011, temperatures were below freezing during the first week of February. The sudden drop in temperature caused a mass stranding of cold-stunned sea turtles at La Pesca, in the municipality of Soto La Marina, Tamaulipas, Mexico. The Gladys Porter Zoo field crew, in cooperation with Mexican Government agencies, were able to rescue 301 sea turtles; saving a total of 300 green sea turtles and one male Kemp’s ridley sea turtle.
The mascot will visit with school children as an ambassador for his species in both the U.S. and Mexico as part of the Sea Turtle Education Program funded by the Marine Turtle Conservation Fund.
Gladys Porter Zoo facebook fans can help pick a name for the Zoo’s new ambassador. Please visit the Zoo’s facebook page and vote for your favorite. www.facebook.com/gladysporterzoo
In 1978, a collaborative bi-national program between the U.S. and Mexico was developed to try and restore the Kemp’s ridley population. In 1981, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service asked Gladys Porter Zoo to administer the U.S.’s field portion of the joint effort of saving the sea turtles. To date, the Zoo still carries out that role.
The participation of the three levels of government in the U.S. and Mexico, as well as the work done by Sea Turtle Inc., the shrimping industry and the Universities, has set the pace for the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle to be on the road to recovery.
For more information, please visit www.gpz.org, www.tortugalora.org or call the Zoo office at (956) 546-7187.