Volunteers have rescued over 5,000 turtles!
Here’s some news that won’t make you salty. Texas volunteers have saved over 4,900 turtles in South Padre Island from going comatose in freezing waters during the devastating winter storm.
When temperatures drop below 50° Fahrenheit, turtles are susceptible to “cold stunning” – a comatose phenomenon that ultimately leads to their death. As the winter storm ensnared Texas into sweeping frigid temperatures, volunteers from Sea Turtle Inc. – a non-profit conservation organization – and other communities banded together to transport native turtles to a warmer, safer environment.
Early last week, when countless residents were still without power and water, volunteers still managed to use what resources they had to rescue the turtles from the freezing waters by any means necessary.
One viral post from @lara_hand on Twitter showed her mother’s Subaru that was packed to the gills with turtles in transport to the South Padre Island Convention Centre.
My mom is retired, & she spends her winters volunteering at a sea turtle rescue center in south Texas. The cold snap is stunning the local turtles & they’re doing a lot of rescues. She sent me this photo today of the back of her Subaru. It’s *literally* turtles all the way down. pic.twitter.com/xaDRNjLDoQ
— Lara (@lara_hand) February 15, 2021
By Tuesday, the organization had already rescued over 1,700 turtles. Then, the power was still out at their facility. Responding to their urgent needs, the City of South Padre Island officials offered to house the turtles at the convention center.
Executive Director, Wendy Knight, posted an update a couple days later, in which she thanked SpaceX had donated a commercial generator to power the services at their education facility, residence center, and clinic & hospital.
“There are no words to explain the gratitude we have,” Knight said.
The turtles were stored tip-to-tail at the Convention Center with kiddie pools, tarps, and boxes, or as @lara_hand’s mother described it “‘imagine a football field with turtles side by side and nose to tail'”.
On February 18, Knight returned to Instagram with a heartfelt message to all of the volunteers that had helped them throughout the dark time.
“We have lived through the largest cold-stun event in recorded history, and we could not have done it without the sheer volume and time you gave us as volunteers.”
On Sunday, the organization was able to return their first batch of over 2,200 turtles back to the Gulf of Mexico. Try not to tear up when watching the video!
More good news ahead!