Turtle rehab centre offers shell-ter to over 2,500 turtles

Isabel Lamb explains how animal rescuers evaded turtle disaster during recent Texan storms.

Isabel Lamb
27th February 2021
Image: OpenClipart-Vectors on Pixabay, Serge on Flickr, edited by Elizabeth Meade

The millions of Texans struggling to stay warm in the past few weeks are not the only ones to be affected by the winter storms. Turtles living in the Gulf of Mexico during February would usually experience temperatures of around 17 to 21 degrees Celsius. However in the recent weeks they have been exposed to temperatures as low as 4 degrees. This prolonged exposure to cold conditions is detrimental to the health of the turtles and can lead to hypothermic-like states and eventually death.

Image: James Lee on Unsplash

However in a turtley amazing move Turtle Inc., a rehabilitation and conservation centre located on South Padre Island in Texas, has stepped up and has now taken in over 2,500 turtles suffering from cold shock.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

The generator heating the water in the turtle tanks broke, forcing the centre to redirect the incoming turtles to an alternative, less suitable location.

Image: Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

This huge feat has not been easy and early into the rescue process, medical supplies and food for turtles and volunteers ran out. The organisation took to social media to appeal to the generosity of the locals. As turtles continued to arrive and the number housed in the centre rose, disaster struck! The generator heating the water in the turtle tanks broke, forcing the centre to redirect the incoming turtles to an alternative, less suitable location. Again Turtle Inc. turned to social media in a plea for funding. To their surprise SpaceX, who operates nearby, responded and supplied them with a large generator.

But the story is not over yet: the turtles must first weather out the storm and will then need a period of recovery and rehabilitation before they can be safely released back into the wild.

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