On South Padre Island, Texas, volunteers have rescued over 4,500 turtles stunned from the cold waters. Their species have been severely threatened by the record-cold temperatures in the state.
According to Sea Turtle Conservancy, the turtles become “cold stunned” when water temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Their heart rates drop, and they become unable to swim or keep their heads above water to breathe.
South Padre Island is the only location in Texas where nests from all five of the sea turtle species that live in the Gulf of Mexico have been found; the sea turtles are listed under the Endangered Species Act.
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Sea Turtle Inc. continues to save the cold-blooded reptiles. Good Samaritans have rescued some along the shoreline and used their own private boats. Dogs have been specially trained to find them hidden in the sand. The turtles have been transported to indoor facilities where they rest on tarps and the temperatures are warmer.
When the demand for energy overwhelmed the state’s power grid, and rolling blackouts threatened the survival of the sea turtles, the rescue group called out for help from the community. Offers to help came in from Space X who donated a large generator to help warm the turtles.
As more turtles have been rescued, the local South Padre Island Convention Center offered its facilities as an overflow area. As of Wednesday afternoon, it is estimated there are between 4,500 to 4,600 turtles. Some of the turtles have warmed up sufficiently and are starting to move. It will not be known for days what injuries the turtles have suffered.
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