By: Editorial Team Photos: Texas State Aquarium
You might remember Texas State Aquarium’s Wildlife Rescue Center making history last February after rescuing a little over 1,200 sea turtles after the brutal winter storm of 2021. Widespread coverage of the efforts to rescue the turtles filled everyone’s newsfeeds, and after last week’s freezing temperatures, they have once again saved the lives of countless turtles.
80 cold-stunned sea turtles were admitted to the aquarium’s Rescue Center on February 3 and 4 during the week’s cold-stunning event, and as of February 10, 73 of them have been returned to the water. The remaining sea turtles will stay for additional medical care until they are ready and healthy enough for their release.
During the winter months, cold-blooded turtles have a harder time regulating their temperatures in freezing waters, causing them to fall into a stunned state of hypothermia. They rely on heat from their environment to maintain body temperature, and when water and air temperatures drop rapidly, they become lethargic and unable to swim.
The 80 admitted green sea turtles were found in the shallow bay systems on the Laguna Madre and came to the Rescue Center from conservation partners at Padre Island National Seashore and the Texas Sealife Center. The Aquarium’s Rescue, Animal Care, and Animal Health teams provided around-the-clock care for the admitted turtles.
After just a few days, the turtles gradually recovered and achieved a healthy body temperature. Once the water in the Gulf reached a temperature of 58-60°F, National Marine Fisheries made the call to release the turtles back into their natural habitat.
“Supporting wildlife conservation is an essential part of the Aquarium’s mission, and it is fulfilling to be able to contribute to the preservation of the sea turtle population who live right in our shores,” said the Aquarium’s President and CEO, Jesse Gilbert. “It’s an honor to be able to assist in the recovery of this vulnerable species, and we are thrilled to see these animals rereleased into the Gulf and continue on their journey.”
To learn more about the Texas State Aquarium and its rescue efforts, visit their website.