Texas (AP) - Scientists are puzzled over a declined this year in the number of nests for endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtles along the Texas coast.
Federal officials say they've counted 153 of the turtle nests in Texas, which is the largest U.S. nesting ground for the animals outside Mexico. A similar drop also has been detected in Mexico.
Last year, 209 nests were tallied in Texas.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department Kemp's ridley coordinator, Tom Shearer, tells the Houston Chronicle (http://bit.ly/16FSSL2 ) he's concerned because the drop isn't something officials had been expecting. Instead, scientists had expected the number of nests to grow annually by 12 to 17 percent.
The turtle is the smallest sea turtle species.