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Sea Turtles and the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill


Rehabilitated Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtles Released
Credit: NOAA
(click photo for pdf fact sheet)

Sea Turtle Release: NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco and NMFS Sea Turtle Coordinator Barbara Schroeder in Cedar Key, FL
Credit: NOAA
(click photo for news article)

video screenshot
Sea Turtle Rescue by NOAA in Venice, LA
Credit: U.S. Coast Guard
(click photo to play video)


Report a Stranded Sea Turtle
If you find an oiled, injured, or dead sea turtle, please contact:

  • TX: 1-866-TURTLE5 (1-866-887-8535)
  • LA: 1-337-962-7092
  • MS: 1-888-SOS-DOLPHIN (1-888-767-3657)
  • AL: 1-866-SEA-TURT (1-866-732-8878)
  • FL: 1-888-404-FWCC (1-888-404-3922)

Sea Turtles Documented in the Area
Species documented include those collected from directed captures and from strandings. They are documented by date observed as well as by disposition:

  • Visibly Oiled
  • Not Visibly Oiled
  • Pending Further Data

Blank cells in the tables indicate no effort that day (e.g., weather conditions may have prohibited traveling offshore), meaning there were no vessels searching offshore for sea turtles and marine mammals.

NOTE: Stranding response for sea turtles transitioned out of MC252 Spill Response and back to the traditional Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network on October 20, 2010. Only confirmed visibly oiled animals collected after October 20 will be added to the data spreadsheets below.

Turtles Documented by Date, State, and Disposition, per day:
April 30, 2010-February 15, 2011
turtle data table thumbnail

(click for more details in larger view PDF document)
NOTE: All data is preliminary. This data is continually being updated and will be considered preliminary until all necropsies have been completed.

A summary report is also available.

Turtles Documented by Species
through February 15, 2011

These totals include species that have been documented as:

  • strandings
  • collected via directed captures offshore
Turtle Species Alive Dead Total

Green turtle
(Chelonia mydas)

172 29

Hawksbill turtle
(Eretmochelys imbricata)

16 0 16

Kemp's ridley turtle
(Lepidochelys kempii)

328 481 809

Loggerhead turtle
(Caretta caretta)

21 67 88

Unknown turtle species

0 32 32


537 609 1146

NOTE: All data is preliminary. This data is continually being updated and will be considered preliminary until all necropsies have been completed.

Number of Turtle Nests Translocated and Hatchlings Released in the Atlantic Ocean
Nests translocated from the Gulf of Mexico to the East Coast of Florida.

The sea turtle nest translocation effort ceased on August 19, 2010

At that time, biologists determined that risks to hatchlings emerging from beaches and entering waters off Alabama and Florida's northwest Gulf coast had diminished significantly, and that the risks of translocating nests during late incubation to the east coast of Florida outweighed the risks of letting hatchlings emerge into the Gulf.

The hatchlings resulting from the translocations were all released as of September 9, 2010.

Final data on nesting translocation, updated on April 19, 2011:

Hatchlings released
Green turtle
(Chelonia mydas)
Kemp's ridley turtle
(Lepidochelys kempii)
Loggerhead turtle
(Caretta caretta)
*Does not include one nest that included a single hatchling and no eggs.

NOTE: All data is preliminary.

Map of Sea Turtles Documented During the 2010 DWH Sea Turtle Response Efforts
The map below shows the locations of

  • stranded sea turtles collected under DWH stranding response (blue)
    (April to October 2010)
  • turtles captured through the directed on-water search and rescue efforts (red)
    (May to September 2010)

All sea turtle response efforts have transitioned back to normal Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network response efforts.

(Click image for larger size.)

More Information on Sea Turtles and the Oil Spill

Updated: March 15, 2013

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