Cold-Stunned Sea Turtles Rescued in Texas

Lauren Cribbs, Video producer

As temperatures drop in Texas, sea turtles are becoming cold stunned, and are being rescued. 

When the stunning occurs the turtles internal body temperature drops disabling them to swim, dive, and move. These turtles need to be saved quickly because there are a large number of them in the Gulf, and they will drown if not rescued in time.

According to ABC News, Sea Turtles Inc, a conservation group, located in South Padre Island, Texas, has saved nearly 5,000 stunned sea turtles since Saturday, February, 13. Wendy Knight, the CEO of Sea Turtles Inc, states that “This occasion has been the largest cold-stunning event in recorded history,” and that they were not prepared. 

During a normal cold stunning event in Texas there are only about 100 to 200 turtles, but when the cold weather hit the number of turtles got higher causing the facility to fill up quickly. When it was to its capacity, the rest of the turtles were placed in the South Padre Island Convention Center.

Even though no one was prepared for the weather in Texas, people still showed up. When news hit that temperatures would be dropping in the area, the Sea Turtles Inc received many volunteers to go out in boats and collect the stunned turtles. 

Many turtles have been saved, and there are still being collected every day. As these sea turtles are brought into warmer temperatures they will begin to awaken, and when waters return to warmer temperatures the turtles will be safely returned to their habitat. 

Two Coast Guard members work to warm 60 sea turtles near South Padre Island, Texas, Feb. 17, 2021. Over 300 cold-stunned sea turtles were rescued by various volunteers and were documented, checked for identifying tags, and quickly transported to local rehabilitation centers. (U.S. Coast Guard/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)(U.S. Coast Guard District 8)