Gulf Sea Turtles Stranding at 5x Normal Rates Since Spill

The decline in nests could be linked to the five-fold increase in sea turtle strandings in the aftermath of the Gulf oil disaster.

08-12-2013 // Lacey McCormick

Kemps Ridley Sea Turtle

The Associated Press is reporting that scientists are concerned over a decline this year in the number of nests along the Texas coast for the endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtle, the most endangered sea turtle in the world.

The decline in nests could be linked to the five-fold increase in sea turtle strandings in the aftermath of the Gulf oil disaster. Data from the Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network indicates that between 1986 and 2009, an average of nearly 100 sea turtles were found stranded annually in the oil spill area. Since the spill, each year roughly 500 sea turtles have been found stranded, most of which were the Kemp’s ridleys.

Doug Inkley, senior scientist for the National Wildlife Federation and lead author of the report Restoring A Degraded Gulf of Mexico: Wildlife and Wetlands Three Years into the Gulf Oil Disaster, said today:

"Sea turtle strandings skyrocketed to about five times the historic level ever since the oil spill began, most of which were Kemp’s ridley sea turtles. Although most of the stranded turtles were young, the BP oil disaster is one of the likely suspects for a decline in nests. We must hold BP accountable for their reckless behavior and we need to use the funds resulting from the disaster to restore sea turtle habitats."

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