SuperTalk Mississippi
Featured News Latest News Politics

Bill heading to governor’s desk designating Kemp’s ridley and American Quarter Horse as state symbols

The Kemp's ridley sea turtle is native to Mississippi (Alexa Delaune/Mississippi Aquarium)

A bill is heading to the desk of Gov. Tate Reeves that would create two new state symbols in Mississippi.

Senate Bill 2143 was originally written to designate the American Quarter Horse as the official state horse, but earlier this week, the House added an amendment to also designate the Kemp’s ridley as the official state sea turtle. On Friday morning, the Senate concurred with the House’s amendment.

“I worked long and hard to find that there were some similarities between sea turtles and quarter horses,” Republican Sen. Lydia Chassaniol of Winona said when presenting the amended version of the bill. “And lo and behold, through my research, I came across a piece of Native American art which shows that turtles and horse do indeed have an important history together.”

The addition of the Kemp’s ridley as the official state sea turtle was included in another Senate bill earlier in the session that got “lost in its migration,” according to Chassaniol. Therefore, the House amendment was agreed upon by the chamber unanimously.

Both animals serve an important purpose in Mississippi as the author of SB 2143, Democratic Sen. Rod Hickman of Macon, wrote that the American Quarter Horse is a perfect fit to represent the Magnolia State as it “is well-suited for the intricate and quick maneuvers required for rodeo events.” The state touts the largest rodeo east of the Mississippi River with the Dixie National taking place each February.

On the other hand, the Kemp’s ridley is not only the most endangered sea turtle in the world, but the species calls the waters off the Mississippi Gulf Coast home. Entities such as the Mississippi Aquarium and the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies also work avidly to rehabilitate Kemp’s ridley turtles that get lost in hypothermia-inducing waters around the globe before releasing them back into the Mississippi Sound.

“We have been working with the state are delighted to see their support for the designation of the Kemp’s ridley as the state’s official sea turtle,” IMMS executive director and president Dr. Moby Solangi said. “This sea turtle is the most endangered species in the world with the Mississippi Sound and adjacent waters being a significant and critical habitat for its juveniles.

“IMMS has been assisting the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Marine Resources in its restoration and recovery efforts, and it has conducted state of the art research studies and conservation efforts to protect and conserve the Kemp’s ridley. This designation would highlight the importance of our state and its commitment to the marine ecosystem and its resources.”

If the legislation is signed by Reeves, the American Quarter Horse and the Kemp’s ridley will join a long list of state symbols, including the mockingbird as the state bird, the blueberry as the state fruit, and milk as the state beverage.

Stay up to date with all of Mississippi’s latest news by signing up for our free newsletter here

Copyright 2024 SuperTalk Mississippi Media. All rights reserved.

Related posts

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More