Endangered turtles recover from Cold Stun paralysis

Local News

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas – Over 200 turtles recovering after a recent cold snap along the Texas coast. Here in the Rio Grande Valley, approximately 20 endangered turtles undergoing hypothermic shock during last week’s cold front. Now experts are preparing to release them back into the wild.

“Gravy” is one of the few sea turtles that will not make it back into the ocean this Tuesday. His partner “Biscuits” passed away this weekend while undergoing a similar rehabilitation session at Sea Turtle, Inc. during this last cold front. Approximately 18 turtles were cold stunned. Essentially they were paralyzed and defenseless in the elements.

Jeff George, Executive Director – Sea Turtle, Inc. “These are little guys that were in our base system and the water got very cold very quickly. They went into hypothermic shock. So they float to the surface. They’re unable to swim, they’re unable to pick their head up to breathe.”

16 of the 18 turtles found along the beaches have warmed up and are ready to return back into the wild. The few, like Gravy, stayed behind because they were severely injured with cracks in the skull or other parts of the body.  They will have to stay a few extra weeks. Event though they’re ready to respond, Sea Turtle, Inc. says the recent cold snap was unexpected.

“This is the earliest in the 28 years that I have been involved. The earliest cold stranding event here in South Texas.” says George.

With more fronts expected in the near future, Sea Turtle, Inc. will continue to prepare for hundreds of patients during this cold season. For now, Gravy hangs on in hopes of one day returning to his natural habitat.

Sea Turtle, Inc. will be hosting a public release of the 16 rehabilitated turtles today, Nov. 19 at Isla Blanca Park.

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