The etymology of "ridley" is a subject of speculation. Prior to being known as ridleys, the French naturalist Bernard Germain de Lacépède referred to the Lepidochelys species as "bastard turtles". Renowned sea turtle conservationist Archie Carr claimed that "ridley" was a common Floridan term.
Both species of ridley are endangered. The Kemp's ridley sea turtle is mainly threatened by polluted waters and the fishing industry. Kemp's ridley is endangered throughout its range. Two major feeding grounds for Kemp's ridley are both near major areas of oil exploration and protection.