Kemp’s Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)
Kemp’s ridley is the most endangered of all sea turtles and was listed in the United States under the Endangered Species Act as endangered throughout its range in 1970. The only major breeding site of the Kemp’s ridley is on a small strip of beach at Rancho Nuevo, Mexico. Kemp’s ridleys nest in mass synchronized nestings called arribadas (Spanish for “arrival”). The arribada of Kemp’s ridleys occurs at regular intervals between April and June. In 1942, a Mexican architect filmed an estimated 42,000 ridleys nesting at Rancho Nuevo in one day. During 1995, only 1,429 ridley nests were laid at Rancho Nuevo. Recent good news is that the nesting at Rancho Nuevo seems to be increasing with over 7,100 nests recorded in 2004! The increase can be attributed to two primary factors: full protection of nesting females and their nests in Mexico, and the requirement to use turtle excluder devices (TEDs) in shrimp trawls both in the U.S. and Mexican waters.