Conservation Success Stories: Part 4

Cover - Conserving Critters
Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle

Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle:

Success Scoop:

These sea turtles make the most nests in Mexico, but they have the second most nests at North Padre Island, Texas. That's why conservationists started a special program for them at North Padre Island in 1986. For the past five years, the turtles have created over a hundred nests there per year!

Science Scoop:
  • Males never leave the water.
  • Females return to the same beach 2-3 times a year to lay their eggs (sometimes 100 of them at one time!).
  • Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtles can live 30-50 years!
Whooping Crane

Whooping Crane:

Success Scoop:

In 1941, only 16 whooping cranes remained in the wild. Now, they number about 300. That's much better, but that's still only about how many kids there are in a few grades of an elementary school. One special flock flies all the way from Canada to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge on the Texas coast every year.

Science Scoop:
  • Females produce two eggs, but usually only one survives.
  • Babies have blue eyes at birth, bluish-green eyes at 3 months, then gold eyes when they reach 6 months old.
  • When baby whooping cranes turn 5 months old they join their parents on a 2,700-mile flight to Texas for the winter.
Houston Toad

Houston Toad:

Success Scoop:

In spite of its name, the Houston Toad hasn't been spotted in Houston since the 1960s. Instead, these amphibians live mostly in the Lost Pines near Bastrop. Scientists are raising these hoppers in the lab and letting them loose to help the population grow.

Science Scoop:
  • Females can lay up to 3,000 eggs at one time, but most won't live to adulthood.
  • Houston Toads love to chomp on crickets.
  • To communicate, they call out a high-pitched trill to one another that lasts for about 14 seconds.
Aplomado Falcon

This photo was taken at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge by Elaine R. Wilson.

Aplomado Falcon:

Success Scoop:

In 1995, something wonderful happened: the first Aplomado falcon pair in 43 years successfully raised a chick in Texas! This success made many folks happy since there had not been a wild breeding pair here since the 1950s. Of course, the Aplomado falcon is still very rare in Texas, but thanks to conservation, some now fly wild out there in our big skies.

Science Scoop:
  • These raptors don't build their own nests, but use old ones left by other birds.
  • The babies stay so hungry that parents must hunt 25-30 times a day in search of food for their little ones.
  • Aplomado falcons hide leftovers to munch on later (if the babies don't find them first!).


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