Texas is experiencing a historical snowstorm, unlike anything they’ve seen in the past century. Millions of people are without power, water, or electricity. However, it’s not just people that are suffering due to the storm. Thousands of sea turtles are in critical condition due to the extreme temperature changes.
Rescuers at Sea Turtle, Inc., a conservation group dedicated to sea turtles, have been gathering up the cold-stunned sea turtles around South Padre Island in Texas. Without interference, thousands of the endangered turtles would die.
On February 14th, the group put out a public plea asking anyone who sees floating or washed-up turtles to act quickly and call them for instructions on what to do. After that, volunteers started going out in search of cold-stunned turtles in critical condition – and found thousands.
“This is the biggest sea turtle cold-stunned event in south texas,” the rescue wrote.
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By Tuesday evening, the rescue group was housing over 2,500 sea turtles. Though they had reached their max capacity before the first 500 arrived, they worked hard to ensure no turtle was turned away. Unfortunately, the rescue center remained without power. Because there was no way to heat the water tanks without power, all of the turtles had to be “dry docked” and laid out over the ground.
“Unfortunately, at 2 o’clock this morning we lost power, and as a result of that we have five 25-to-55,000 gallon tanks filled with these beautiful creatures that have lived here on South Padre Island for almost 40 years that are very close to perishing,” the director, Wendy Knight, said on Monday.
Finally, Sea Turtle, Inc., received generators from SpaceX this morning. The rescue is still facing critical conditions because all 10 of their heaters were “blown out” during the power outage. Each heater costs thousands of dollars, but they’re remaining hopeful that they can save not only their resident turtles and sea creatures but also the thousands of wild sea turtles they brought in.
As the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission shared, sea turtles may struggle to swim if the water temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. They’re cold-blooded animals, so they rely on external temperatures to keep them warm and can easily fall into hypothermia when exposed to the cold.
When sea turtles experience a dramatic drop in water temperature, they become “cold-stunned.” The Turtle Island Restoration Network shared that cold-stunned turtles easily fall prey to frostbit, shock, pneumonia, and even death.
If you’d like to help Sea Turtle, Inc., support the cold-stunned sea turtles, you can donate below.
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