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Episode Details

series: Heartbreak Turtle Today

air date: 11/16/12 5:00 AM

The Heartbreak Turtle Today documentary features the story of the dramatic recovery of the critically endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtle in the Gulf of Mexico. Illegal poaching at nesting beaches in Mexico and deadly shrimp trawls in the Gulf of Mexico cut the estimated 47,000 nesters to less than 500 nesting females in 1985, nearly driving them to extinction. Scientists also attribute their decline to coastal habitat destruction and the massive 1979 Ixtoc oil spill in Mexico offshore their main nesting beach. Thanks to grassroots conservation efforts, modifications to shrimp trawl fisheries, and bi-national efforts to protect nesting beaches, the Kemp's ridley population has slowly grown. The devastation and uncertainty for the future of the Kemp's ridley following the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are captured in vivid footage, photographs, and interviews.

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