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Watch newly hatched sea turtles return to the wild on Padre Island.
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Tyrone Turner / Getty Images16/31

Watch newly hatched sea turtles return to the wild on Padre Island.

Believe it or not, the world's longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island lies right here in the U.S., in the far south of Texas. Padre Island National Seashore protects some 70 miles of pristine coastline with rolling dunes, serene prairies and tidal flats teeming with waterfowl. Yet, it's the critically endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtles that are the true stars of this remarkable reserve. Park rangers gathered eggs from more than 300 nests in 2017 and plan to release newly hatched turtles back into the wild between June and August. Releases are generally open to the public and take place at 6:45 a.m. on Malaquite Beach (in front of the visitor center). Call the Hatchling Hotline (361-949-7163) to get the latest info on projected release dates.

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