First sighting from our team of a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle “Lepidochelys kempii” by May 14th around 5 PM, 2 miles south of Pontas Negras, Pico Island… of course !
The animal was covered with gooseneck barnacles and sea weed. Sensible skipper Pedro has removed all the parasites.
Pedro thinks that he has seen another similar sea turtle, last week when he was snorkling by the “Castelete”, bigger than the one from Ponta Negras who was 30 cm of lenght.
The Kemp's ridley sea turtle was named after Richard M. Kemp, a fisherman and naturalist from Key West, Florida, who first submitted the species for identification in 1880.
It is rarely sighted in the Azores archipelago
Size 24 to 36 inches long
Diet Crabs, fishes and an array of mollusks
Lifespan At least 30 years, and possibly 50 years or more
Range Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and U.S. Atlantic Seaboard
Habitat Coastal areas, nesting on beaches
Predators Foxes, weasels, cats, dogs, raccoons, crabs and more eat eggs
and hatchlings. Sharks and other large fishes prey on juveniles and adults.
Humans threaten them with fishing activities.
Relatives There are seven species of sea turtles, including the green, loggerhead, Kemp’s ridley, olive ridley, hawksbill, flat back and leatherback.
Family life Female Kemp’s ridleys nest all at once in a large group called an arribada.
In 1947, about 42,000 turtles nested in an arribada in Rancho Nuevo, Mexico.
Conservation status Critically Endangered Kemp's ridleys face major threats from accidental catch in fishing gear and are currently the most endangered sea turtle in the world.Sea turtles and climate change Rising temperatures, rising sea levels, and other trends are having an effect on the world’s sea turtles.