Texas Parks and Wildlife releases sea turtles

Flanked by anxious onlookers aboard the Double Sunrise tour boat, Texas Parks and Wildlife Deputy Executive Directors Gene McCarty and Scott Boruff prepare to release a rehabilitated green sea turtle into South Bay near the Queen Isabella Causeway Bridge of the Laguna Madre on Friday.

Flanked by anxious onlookers aboard the Double Sunrise tour boat, Texas Parks and Wildlife Deputy Executive Directors Gene McCarty and Scott Boruff released three rehabilitated green sea turtles into South Bay near the Queen Isabella Causeway Bridge of the Laguna Madre last week.

The turtle release culminated the Jeff "Yappo" Boruff YappoPalooza, a fundraising effort that honored the late son of the TPWD senior staff member and benefited sea turtle conservation.

Later in the day, Boruff drew names from YappoPalooza's raffle for prizes, and presented a $5,000 check on behalf of his son's memorial fund to Sea Turtle Inc., a nonprofit conservation organization on South Padre Island dedicated to preserving and restoring all species of sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico.

"In addition to helping support the bi-national conservation effort to protect sea turtles, I'm just honored that this extraordinary group of people has helped me create a legacy for my son, and it's a legacy Jeff would have been proud of," said Boruff.

Restoration and protection of the Gulf's sea turtles - especially the Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle, which is not only the smallest, but also the most critically endangered species of marine turtle, has been a major partnership effort by numerous government and nonprofit groups during the last several years, including the Gladys Porter Zoo of Brownsville, and U.S. and state government agencies such as TPWD and the National Park Service, as well as government and conservation groups from Mexico.