In 1880, Richard Kemp of Key West sent a specimen to Samuel Garman at Harvard. The new species was named for Kemp. No one seems to know why the name 'ridely' is used.
Because of the population crash, the Kemp’s ridely is recognized by the world’s sea turtle scientists to be the most critically endangered sea turtle in the world.
310 Kemp’s ridelys, including 58 adults, have washed up dead on or near Padre Island in the past two years, more than any other place in the United States. The ratio of standings to nests is as much as 600 times higher along Padre Island than at Kemp’s primary nesting beach in Mexico.
A 1998 federal government report noted that female Kemp’s ridelys seeking to nest at Padre Island 'may have been reduced by half as a result of adult mortality at the beginning of the nesting season.'
The number of dead adult Kemp’s ridelys found in 1998 in Texas far exceeded the number found during each year since 1980.