Local News

Nov 27, 2013 3:53 PM by Rachel Cole - rcole@kristv.com

'Cold Stunned' Turtles Stuck on Seashore

CORPUS CHRISTI - The severe cold temperatures here in the coastal bend the last couple days are threatening sea life along Laguna Madre. 16 Green Sea Turtles have suffered 'cold stunning' something experts like, Doctor Donna Shaver, say can be deadly for the turtles.

"This is a threatened species," she said.

The Green Sea Turtles have been off and on the 'Threatened species' list since the 70's. Dr. Shaver, a turtle expert at the Padre Island National Seashore says it's 'Cold stunning' that's to blame.

"Severe freezes, that killed a lot of the turtles," she said.

Dr. Shaver and her staff have already rescued 16 turtles. Once they become victims to the cooling waters the turtles can become immobilized and then float to the surface. Then eventually float up to the shore. Dr. Shaver says sometimes they don't always make it.

"One was found dead and if these cold stunned turtles aren't found quickly enough they will die due to exposure or predation," she added.

For the ones that do, she says there is a way to treat them and bring their body temperature down

"The best treatment is to actually warm them gradually and right now in our laboratory its in the 60's and out on the beach in the 40s and 50s," Dr. Shaver said.

After the turtles warm up and start moving again they are transported to another facility.

"We take them to the rehabilitation center at the ARK where we will continue the gradual warming of the turtle," she said.

Dr. Shaver says in 2011, more than 16 hundred sea turtles washed ashore across Texas. She adds that, although the problem now, is not that severe at this point, officials ask that people watch for beached turtles and call if they spot one.

If you find a Green Sea Turtle call: 361-949-8173 ext. 226 or you can contact an after-hours cell phone at 361-876-8462.

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