Project Ridley

Dearl Adams, a Brownsville contractor, was elected to spearhead a program named Project Ridley. Project Ridley was created to view and study the nestings and hatchings at Rancho Nuevo, and then transplant some eggs to Padre Island in the hopes of restoring the Kemp’s Ridley nesting rookery there.

Mr. Adams obtained permission from the Mexican government to gather the eggs at the Rancho Nuevo rookery for transplanting to South Padre Island and each year Mr. Adams and volunteers would make the trek to Rancho Nuevo to bring more eggs to South Padre Island.

In 1966 Ila joined Mr. and Mrs. Adams in making a trip to Rancho Nuevo where they collected 2000 eggs and brought them back to what they called Ranchito Tortuga, meaning the Turtle Ranch in Spanish. Mr. Adams and Ila had set up Ranchito Tortuga about nine miles north of Andy Bowie Park, and it was here where they ensured that the nests were protected from predators.

Ila with Dearl Adams at Ranchito Tortuga
Ila Loetscher and Dearl Adams at Ranchito Tortugo

Ila at Ranchito Tortugo
Ila Loetscher with Dearl Adams' family at Ranchito Tortugo
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