83R4491 JWI-D
  By: Eiland H.C.R. No. 31
         WHEREAS, The State of Texas traditionally has recognized a
  variety of official symbols as tangible representations of the
  proud character and colorful heritage of the Lone Star State; and
         WHEREAS, Select members of the animal kingdom, including the
  longhorn, the armadillo, and the Texas horned lizard, are among the
  species that have been formally recognized, and their designation
  has served to draw attention to the great biological diversity of
  the state's landscape and to highlight creatures who are unique to
  or closely identified with the state; and
         WHEREAS, An especially rich natural environment is found
  along the Texas Gulf Coast, and of the many distinctive species
  found in that region, the Kemp's ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys
  kempii) is particularly deserving of recognition; and
         WHEREAS, Identifiable by its nearly circular upper shell, the
  Kemp's ridley makes its home primarily in the Gulf of Mexico, though
  it is also found in the Atlantic Ocean; after hatching, the male
  turtles spend their entire lives at sea; the females come ashore
  only to lay eggs, and they do so in large, synchronized groups, an
  extraordinary phenomenon known in Spanish as arribada, meaning
  "arrival"; while they are the smallest of the eight types of sea
  turtles in the world, they can still weigh up to 100 pounds and grow
  to 2.5 feet in length; and
         WHEREAS, This remarkable creature is part of an inspiring
  conservation success story; following an alarming population
  decline that began in the 1940s, the Kemp's ridley teetered on the
  brink of extinction and was placed on the Endangered Species List in
  1970; it has made a heroic recovery, however, as a result of a
  collaborative protection program begun in 1978 by the United States
  and Mexico; this initiative has helped implement the use of turtle
  excluder devices by the commercial shrimp fleet, which allow sea
  turtles to escape the trawling nets that were causing large numbers
  of deaths; another important development has been the establishment
  of a secondary nesting colony at Padre Island National Seashore in
  Texas, which supplements the main nesting site in Mexico; as of
  2012, more than 100 turtle nests were identified at the national
  seashore, with another 100 in other Texas coastal areas; and
         WHEREAS, A number of organizations and universities in the
  state have taken part in the campaign to safeguard the turtles, with
  Texas A&M University at Galveston, The University of Texas Marine
  Science Institute, and the National Marine Fisheries Service being
  central players in the initiative; and
         WHEREAS, Once the most imperiled of all sea turtles, the
  Kemp's ridley is today becoming a more common resident of the Gulf
  Coast waters; its comeback is a testament to its resilience and to
  the admirable work of those Texans who have aided its recovery, and
  this noble animal is indeed a fitting symbol of the Lone Star State;
  now, therefore, be it
         RESOLVED, That the 83rd Legislature of the State of Texas
  hereby designate the Kemp's ridley sea turtle as the official State
  Sea Turtle of Texas.