Today, Congressman Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville) visited Sea Turtle Inc. on South Padre Island to learn more about their conservation efforts and see first-hand the important work they do to protect sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico. Founded in 1977, Sea Turtle Inc. was originally formed to aid in the protection and recovery of the endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtle. Since then, their mission has expanded to rescue, rehabilitate, and release injured sea turtles, educate the public, and assist with conservation efforts for all marine turtle species.
"It was incredible to see the conservation work Sea Turtle Inc. does on South Padre Island," said Congressman Vela. "The Kemp's ridley sea turtle, native to the Gulf of Mexico, is critically endangered. Without Sea Turtle Inc.'s dedication to the species' continued recovery, the sea turtles would face an uphill battle to survive. I hope to continue to help raise awareness and protect these majestic animals for generations to come."
After touring the main facility and hospital, which rehabilitates up to 100 sick or injured sea turtles at a time, Congressman Vela spoke with Jeff George, Executive Director of Sea Turtle Inc., about some of their conservation work. Sea Turtle Inc. patrols more than 50 miles of coastline each summer for nesting Kemps' ridley turtles. The eggs are incubated in a corral and then the hatchlings are released back into the Gulf of Mexico. Each year, Sea Turtle Inc. engages with over 80,000 tourists on South Padre Island to educate the general public about endangered sea turtles and their marine environments.
"We are very excited Congressman Vela is taking an interest in the Gulf of Mexico and efforts to preserve marine habitat. His interest in sea turtles and conservation efforts currently underway are critical to raising the public's awareness and saving sea turtles," said Jeff George.
Following his visit, Congressman Vela toured Padre Island Brewery, which is currently brewing Kemp's Ridley Bock. For every pint of the seasonal brew sold, 25 cents go toward Sea Turtle Inc. to further its turtle rescue and conservation efforts.
For more information on Sea Turtle Inc.'s rescue and conservation programs, please visit http://www.seaturtleinc.org/.