First ever Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle nest found on Bald Head Island

First Kemp's Ridley sea turtle nest ever on BHI in May 2020. (Photo: Chris and Gean Anson & Lauren Schaale)

BALD HEAD ISLAND, NC (WWAY) — The sea turtle season is underway along our coast and history was made this week when the Bald Head Island turtle patrol found its first ever Kemp’s Ridley nest.

The Kemp’s Ridley is one of the rarest and most endangered sea turtles.

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Melissa Blackmon with the Bald Head Island Conservancy says the patrol team got a call about a daytime nesting sea turtle, which is rare, on Wednesday.

“The turtle was no longer on the beach, but she left behind her tracks,” Blackmon wrote to WWAY.

However, the crew noticed something different about the tracks.

“After careful inspection of the tracks, nesting area, and photo evidence of the turtle leaving the beach from a bystander, our Sea Turtle Protection Team realized it was a Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle nest,” Blackmon wrote. “Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles are the most endangered, rarest, and smallest of the sea turtles. It’s the island’s first ever documented Kemp’s Ridley nest since the program began in 1980.”

The Bald Head Island Conservancy is also in the running to win a $5,000 grant for their Sea Turtle Protection Program through Turtle Island Restoration Network.

Visit here to vote. Go to the bottom of the page to vote for the conservancy.

Voting ends on June 1.