The rescue team, through their partnership in the Louisiana Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue Program (LMMSTRP), captured the 90-pound female Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle from a borrow pit pond owned by Vermilion Corporation on the east side of L Hwy. 3147. She was then transported back to Audubon Nature Institute’s Aquatic Center in New Orleans for further evaluation and later release back into the Gulf of Mexico.
“Getting the chance to save any endangered species, especially a beautiful sea turtle such as the Kemp’s Ridley, is a great accomplishment,” said LDWF Coastal Research and Assessment Biologist Mandy Tumlin. “This is another example of what we can accomplish working together with our partners at Audubon and the public.”
Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles were placed on the Louisiana endangered species list in 1989. They are the most critically endangered species of all sea turtles. They live in sheltered areas along the coast, including bays, bayous and estuaries and are considered the smallest sea turtles, usually weighing between 89 and 100 pounds when fully matured.
“If funding is able to be secured for a satellite tag system, this sea turtle will be the first sea turtle in Louisiana released with such a device,” says Michele Kelley of Audubon Aquarium of the Americas.
LMMSTRP is a volunteer organization based at Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. The group is committed to the humane care and treatment of injured, ill, or out-of-habitat marine mammals and sea turtles. LMMSTRP works with other conservation organizations to respond to stranded marine mammals and sea turtles, collect data about existing populations of marine animals along the Louisiana coast and waterways, and help researchers develop new knowledge supporting the conservation of marine species.
To report a marine mammal or sea turtle in distress in the Louisiana area, call 504-235-3005 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.