Every summer, thousands of people travel to Padre Island National Seashore at dawn to cheer on sea turtle hatchlings as they are released into the surf.
It’s a huge tourist attraction for this national park on the Texas coast and a conservation success story — the result of a decades-long effort to save the most endangered sea turtle from extinction.
But after more than 40 years of supporting and celebrating the program, National Park Service officials appear to have soured on paying for it.
In a recent report, agency officials proposed sweeping changes to the park’s conservation efforts that scientists said would make it significantly more difficult, if not impossible, to establish a thriving population of Kemp’s ridley sea turtles on the island.
The report suggested that saving sea turtles was taking up too