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Padre Island National Seashore cancels popular turtle release events for the summer

Events drew up to 1,200 spectators, park says

A Kemp's Ridley sea turtle at Padre Island National Seashore.
A Kemp's Ridley sea turtle at Padre Island National Seashore. (NPS)

SAN ANTONIO – The Padre Island National Seashore will not hold public turtle releases, which were known to attract up to 1,200 spectators, this summer due to the pandemic.

The National Park Service announced Wednesday that the events at the seashore will be suspended in accordance with social distancing guidelines, according to a news release.

“These public release events have become increasingly popular and regularly draw crowds between 700 and 1,200 participants,” the release states.

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During the events, Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles, the most endangered of all sea turtle species, are released to the gulf.

NPS said it will resume the releases “when conditions and guidance allow." Instead, the park will film the releases and post the videos on Facebook.

The Padre Island National Seashore has resumed overnight camping as Gov. Greg Abbott has allowed beaches to reopen.

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