Volunteers rush to rescue over 2,500 sea turtles off Texas coast
Over 2,500 sea turtles have been rescued by volunteers on South Padre Island, Texas, after record low temperatures have stunned the area amid winter storm Uri.
Some turtles have been relocated to a conservation facility, while others are being temporarily housed at the South Padre Island Convention Center, WFLA reports.
They ran out of space at the rescue center, so the local convention center opened its doors to turtle storage. This video was from yesterday afternoon. By the time my mom sent it to me, there were so many more that she said, “there is no empty floor space tonight.” pic.twitter.com/g6Gw7dfIOQ
— Lara (@lara_hand) February 16, 2021
One Twitter user shared a photo of sea turtles in the back seat of her car as she transported them to safety.
I’m dealing with power and water issues like countless others hospitals in Texas. My husband Dustin currently has a car full of cold stunned sea turtles. South Padre Island has a small sea turtle rescue that needs help. https://t.co/MKsw4KEJ56 pic.twitter.com/LAaoXX0MqU
— W.K. Robinson (@WKRobinsonRN) February 16, 2021
Sea turtles are cold-blooded animals unable to regulate their body temperatures.
When water temperatures drop below approximately 50°F (10°C), the animals often get lethargic and experience decreased motor skills, leaving them unable to swim, according to the National Park Service.
Sea turtles tend to float to the surface in cold temperatures, leaving them vulnerable to being hit by boats, predators, or wash ashore and become stranded.
Henry Rodriguez, a local boat tour agency owner, explained to KRGV that he had rescued 185 turtles in two days.
“These animals will float — the only way they go down is by using their flippers,” Rodriguez explained.
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