A preliminary short-term hospital is set to open later this fall.

By Meghan Overdeep
September 21, 2020
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Texas A&M University at Galveston

The Kemp’s Ridley is the most critically endangered sea turtle in the world.

Commonly found in Texas and Mexico, Kemp’s Ridleys are the smallest of the sea turtles, reaching only about two feet in shell length and weighing up to 100 pounds.

According to National Geographic, Kemp’s Ridley populations have been unable to rebound after over-harvesting of their eggs during the last century. Commercial fishing and pollution certainly haven’t made things easier for the peaceful reptiles. Sea Turtle Conservancy estimates that there are between 7,000 and 9,000 nesting females alive today.

In short, they need help.

WATCH: More than 100 Baby Sea Turtles Found Dead in North Myrtle Beach as a Result of Hurricane Isaias Storm Surge

Turtle-lovers will be thrilled to learn that construction is underway on converting an old wetlands facility on the Texas A&M University at Galveston campus into a short-term sea turtle hospital. The much-needed facility, which will provide rehabilitation services to stranded, ill or injured sea turtles, is set to open later this fall.

Texas A&M University at Galveston’s Gulf Center for Sea Turtle Research (GCSTR) will be partnering with the Houston Zoo on rehabilitation efforts and veterinary needs for the hospital’s patients.

It’s a big step in helping to rebuild the upper Texas coast’s sea turtle population—an effort made even more important after NOAA’s longtime Galveston Laboratory sea turtle facility shuttered in 2018.

“Plans are in place to build a long-term educational outreach facility and state-of-the-art sea turtle hospital on campus in the next several years,” Department of Marine Biology Professor and GCSTR Director Dr. Christopher Marshall explained in a news release. “This facility will provide the public and school groups opportunities to see sea turtles from the local region and learn about the marine habitats of Galveston Bay, the upper Texas coast and the western Gulf of Mexico that support sea turtles.”

Texas A&M is hoping to raise enough money to add a long-term recovery center in the next few years.

To donate online go to Give.am/SeaTurtleFacility.