Sea Turtles and the Cold: Rescue and Release


South Padre Island has our very own sea turtle rescue organization, Sea Turtle, Inc. According to their website, Sea Turtle, Inc.’s mission is to “rescue, rehabilitate, and release injured sea turtles, educate the public, and assist with conservation efforts for all marine turtle species.”

The organization uses social media to announce public releases of sea turtles, so if you’re not currently following Sea Turtle, Inc. on facebook,  Instagram, or Twitter, right now is the perfect time to start!

December 2017: Around 60 Turtles Released

Last month, Sea Turtle, Inc., announced a public release of around 60 rescued cold-stunned sea turtles. Witnessing the release these beautiful creatures back into their natural habitat is a unique opportunity for RGV residents. According to a recent article in the Valley Morning Star, “[w]hen weather temperatures drop quickly, sea turtles in the bay are at risk of being cold-stunned that leaves the turtles motionless and can lead to death.”  The release of the rescued cold-stunned turtles took place on December 13, 2017, shortly after a cold spell that stranded over 70 sea turtles. 

I was lucky enough to attend the public release on December 13. Staff contained the public to areas behind yellow tape.  The staff, however, thoughtfully conducted the release by carrying the sea turtles along the line of on-lookers.  The pictures below show just how close we were to the turtles!   

Sea Turtle Rescue Release
Sea Turtle Inc Turtle Release

The friendly staff members also stopped to answer questions, allow pictures, or talk to kids as they walked the turtles to the ocean.  It was neat to see so many sea turtles, each one a little different.  Some were large, some were small, and many were aggressively flapping their front flippers in anticipation of reentering the ocean. 

January 2018: More Cold-Stranded Turtles Expected

This week it’s cold again in the RGV!  Sea Turtle, Inc. closed their South Padre Island facility earlier this week so that staff could process cold-stranded turtles.  That means a release of cold-stunned turtles may take place in the near future. If you want to stay informed on future releases, now is the time to follow Sea Turtle, Inc. You can also visit their Sea Turtle Rescue Center throughout the year, and even view their turtle cams via a live stream.

Follow Sea Turtle, Inc., to stay up-to-date on other turtle releases, as well as learn more about the mission and vision of Sea Turtle, Inc. 


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