Thousands of sea turtles have been rescued from the extreme cold in Texas. In the past 30 years, it hasn’t been this cold in the southern state of the United States. Sea turtles can’t survive in low water temperatures.
Millions of humans and animals in Texas have been suffering in the extremely cold weather that hit them this week. In Dallas, where it’s usually 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) in February, temperatures went as low as -18 degrees Celsius (-0.4 degrees Fahrenheit), making the area colder than Alaska.
If the water temperature goes below 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit), turtles can get paralyzed because they can’t regulate their own temperature. The cold eventually leads to their death because they can’t move anymore and drown.
In the last few days, stunned by the cold, sea turtles have been washing up on the beaches of South Padre Island. Volunteers have picked up the sea turtles from the beach and brought the South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau, where they are being kept in tubs.
In videos shot by Ed Caum, executive director of the center, you see volunteers carefully placing the animals on a trolley, and then the convention center floor. The whole building is full of turtles of all shapes and sizes.
“Day three of seas turtles rescue operations continue,” Caum says in the video he posted on Wednesday. “We got power and water back. We’ve expanded down both wings. The heat is coming back up in the corridor.” He thinks there are around 2500 turtles at the center.
“It’s an unprecedented event,” said Wendy Knight, executive director of research and conservation center Sea Turtle Inc. Knight said usually only 100-500 turtles wash up on the beaches in south Texas each winter.
“We’ve collected a lot. Now, we’ll try to save them,” Caum said. When the weather gets better, they’ll be released again.
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