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Huge crowd turns out for Friday's turtle hatchling release

Sea Turtles
Posted at 12:06 PM, Jul 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-23 14:56:57-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Padre Island National Seashore officials and volunteers were ready to get to work early this morning.

And so were a lot of people who wanted to watch them.

That group began a sea turtle hatchling release bright and early at 6:45 a.m. on Friday before a large crowd that attended the event.

“We were waiting for the crowd to congregate and people asked how many people were here," said Dr. Donna Shaver, chief of PINS' Division of Sea Turtle Science and Recovery."We counted about 1,300 people."

Visitors packed the parking lot, some attending this event for the first time.

“It's my first time," said park visitor Sarah Fekri. "It's neat and it's really cool."

Other visitors traveling from as far as Las Vegas just to catch a glimpse of the turtles.

"My daughter is here for the week, and she invited me to come," one park visitor said. "We found about the turtles, so we're thrilled to be here today."

Organizers said 136 Kemp Ridley sea turtles made their way down the beach and into the water. It was a happy sight for all who attended.

“Although I am a researcher in a conservation biologist, I think education is the third prong that’s critical in our effort because we share this earth with people and turtles,” Shaver said.

The turtles released today will go up the Atlantic Coast or return to nest in the Gulf of Mexico, Shaver said.