Turtle Lady

Of the two thousand eggs, fifty-four adorable Kemp’s Ridley hatchlings emerged from the sand. Mr. Adams gave three to Ila, and the other fifty-one made it safely to the sea under the protection of Ila and Mr. Adams. The three half-ounce baby hatchlings were named after characters from a poem written by Eugene Field; Wynken, Blynken and Nod.

Joe Breuer, a marine biologist for the Texas Parks and Wildlife, helped Ila to get a state permit allowing her to hold in captivity all species of sea turtles for care and educational purposes. In addition to her working with Mr. Adams at the rookery, she also began saving critically injured sea turtles and nursing them back to health.

A kraal was constructed in the Fiesta Isles of the Laguna Madre. The kraal was a sixty foot long pen that was constructed in the mouth of a bay for protecting the turtles while they were in Ila’s care. This marked the beginning of the well-known Laguna Madre Kraal, and won Ila the title of The Turtle Lady.

Ila with Spunky 1971

Ila with Spunky

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