Thousands Of Sea Turtles Rescued From Freezing Waters As Cold Weather Continues To Ravage Texas

Photo: bierchen / Shutterstock
Sea turtles washed up on the beach

While many Texas residents are having their homes fall apart, their roofs caving in, and their food going bad, there are other residents below the surface that are also freezing.

South Padre Island in the South of Texas is having their sea turtles manually evacuated from the icy waters. In the past week alone, around 2,500 turtles have been rescued and that staggering number is only rising.

The turtles are being brought to centers like the South Padre Island Convention, the Visitors Bureau, and Sea Turtle Inc., as the number of turtles is too great for one place.

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While the process takes a large effort, it’s a team effort.

There are residents, who have no power or basic amenities, that are helping wildlife officials search the beaches and bays for sea turtles suffering in the harsh conditions.

Most of these turtles suffering on the beach suffer from a condition referred to as “cold-stone,” which inhibits a turtle's mobility and can cause them to stay stuck in place.

This makes it easier to find the turtles.

“Every 15 minutes or less there’s another truck or SUV that pulls up,” Ed Caum, executive director of the South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau, told The Associated Press.

Caum has seen a tremendous amount of turtles enter their center. “We had trailers full yesterday coming in that had 80, 100, 50,” he said.

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Will it all be for nothing if Texas doesn’t get their power back?

As great as it will be for the survival of these Atlantic green sea turtles, they won’t survive for long if the power doesn’t come back to these facilities.

The centers have had turtles in their hospital, rehabilitation and education centers but they have been increasingly overwhelmed with the number of turtle rescues since the temperatures dropped.

"We have been so pleased with the community acceptance," Wendy Knight, the executive director at Sea Turtle Inc. said in a Facebook video. "But all of these efforts will be in vain if we do not soon get power restored to our facility."

If these centers housing the turtles lose power, it will be no different than being stranded out on a beach.

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In an act of kindness and perfect timing, SpaceX provided a powerful generator useful enough to cover the facility’s rehabilitation, education and conservation facilities, Knight said in a Facebook video.

This has helped save thousands of sea turtles' lives now that they are being kept warm and out of harm's way.

"For today, the sun is bright. SpaceX has provided us with a generator," Knight said. "And we are moving forward."

The collaboration between Sea Turtle Inc. and South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau has helped to save thousands of more lives of these turtles and hopefully, they won't have to for much longer.

Those who have found sea turtles are encouraged to call Sea Turtle Inc's emergency sea turtle line at 956-243-4361 or the Turtle Island Restoration Network at 1-866-TURTLE5.

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Tomás Diniz Santos is a writer living in Orlando, Florida. He covers news, entertainment, and pop-culture topics.