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Padre Island National Seashore Sea Turtle Science and Recovery

Padre Island National Seashore boasts the only Division of Sea Turtle Science and Recovery in the National Park Service. This division conducts numerous science and conservation projects, from local to international levels, on behalf of the five species of threatened and endangered sea turtle species that occur in the Gulf of Mexico. The most widely recognized effort is the Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle Recovery Program, where the division leads a project to re-establish a nesting colony of endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtles at the park. This Kemp's ridley project and the other projects conducted by the division are the focus of over 60 interviews each year.

The Division of Sea Turtle Science and Recovery is led by Dr. Donna J. Shaver, who has worked with sea turtles at Padre Island National Seashore since 1980. Dr. Shaver serves as the Texas Coordinator of the U.S. Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network and is a member of Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle Recovery Team, Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle Working Group, IUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group, Board of Directors of the International Sea Turtle Society, and several other societies. The other permanent employee with the division is Ms. Cynthia Rubio, who has worked with sea turtles in Mexico and the U.S. for over a decade. Several other Biological Technicians and over 140 volunteers also work for the division each year.

Many of the sea turtle projects conducted by the division are long-term and are in partnership with other scientists, NGOs, and various funding entities. Some of these partners include: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, Unilever HPC-USA, National Park Foundation, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Shell Oil Company Foundation, Norcross Wildlife Foundation, HEART, Sea Turtle Restoration Project, Western Parks and Monuments Association, Forever Resorts, University of Texas, University of Charleston, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Sea Turtles, Inc., SEMARNAT, Gladys Porter Zoo, Alvin and Lucy Owsley Foundation, and Seaspace. We are tremendously grateful for the assistance of these partners, as it takes many entities working together to help conserve these highly migratory, imperilled species.

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