Volunteers have been involved in a Herculean effort to rescue thousands of turtles that have been left ‘cold-stunned’ due to the historic winter storm hitting the USA.
The temperature of the water off Texas has dropped significantly and Sea Turtle Inc, a non-profit education, rehabilitation and conservation organisation in South Padre Island, has rescued nearly 4,500 turtles since Sunday alone.
Executive Director Wendy Knight said that volunteers had been conducting the rescues on foot and via boat, and thanks to assistance from the local community, local government and SpaceX, which has a nearby launch site, they have been able to find shelter for the stricken reptiles, and have power to run the center. Some 500 are safe in the organisation’s facility, SpaceX has another 850, and the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau donated the South Padre Island Convention Center, which currently has more than 4,000 turtles in tarpaulins, children’s pools and plastic boxes crammed into every space floor space.
It is expected that more turtles will be rescued in the next few days, and then they hope the conditions will improve and they can start the mammoth task of releasing them all back into the ocean.
Photo credit: Sanjuana C Zavala / Sea Turtle Inc