Hundreds of turtles are now returning to their home in the Gulf of Mexico after suffering a terrible ordeal during the recent winter storm in Texas.
When the now famous and freakish cold front devastated Texas’ power grid, a local sea turtle rescue shelter, Sea Turtle Inc, lost power and wasn’t able to keep the water at the normally balmy temperatures needed to ensure the turtles’ health.
That would have been the first concern, but then, as GNN reported, literally thousands of sea turtles around South Padre Island and in the Gulf were being “cold-stunned,” a term that describes a comatose state brought on by falling water temperatures sapping the life from the cold-blooded animals.
Volunteer rescue efforts from staff, community members, beachgoers, wardens, and even nearby SpaceX rocket engineers wound up bringing more than 5,000 turtles to makeshift hospitals managed by Sea Turtle Inc. staff.
The infirm reptilians overflowed their property, and a rescue center was set up in a nearby convention center—with turtles lined up nose-to-tail on sheets of tarpaulin, waiting for their turn in warm water kiddie pools, the only method of recovery available when the power was out.
The “overwhelming support” of community volunteers prevented a sea turtle “Armageddon,” and two days ago Sea Turtle Inc. reported that 2,200 of the rescued turtles were returned to the sea.
“We still have lots of work to do but we are rejuvenated with passion,” Sea Turtle Inc. staff wrote, “having seen our first released turtles swim away.”
Another video published by the BBC showed rehabilitators cheer as they sent their first turtle speeding down a slide into the ocean now that record low temperatures have ceased.