The Kemp's Ridley Turtle is endangered. The population is stable but very low with the current estimation of 400 - 600 animals. It was listed as endangered on December 2, 1970. This is the most endangered of all sea turtles. The decline of the Ridleys was most likely caused by human impacts at sea and their primary nesting beach near Rancho Nuevo, Tamaulipas, a state in Mexico. The Mexican government began protecting Rancho Nuevo nesting beach from poachers in 1966. In 1978 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Mexico began a cooperative program to increase the nest protection and relocation programs at Rancho Nuevo.
Kemp's Ridley is one of the smallest marine turtles. Adult females are about 23 - 31 inches (58-80cm) in length and weigh about 88 - 110 pounds (40-50kg). Their shells are usually as wide as their length. The coloration changes significantly during their development. The carapace changes from gray to black in adults and light gray to olive color in hatchlings. The plastron of adults changes from creamy-white to yellow. They have 2 pairs of prefrontal scales on the head, five vertebral scutes, five pairs of costal scutes, and generally 12 pairs on the marginal of the carapace.
They feed on crabs.