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Local organizations help PINS rescue sea turtles during government shutdown

Posted at 3:05 PM, Jan 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-10 09:17:22-05

The Padre Island National Seashore remains open despite a government shutdown, but some services have been limited.

Park Rangers have cut down on beach patrols to look for injured or cold-stunned sea turtles. However,  some local organizations are stepping in to help out.

Alicia Walker, a program coordinator at the ARK, says when the shutdown began, she got a call from Dr. Donna Shaver of the Seashore’s sea turtle recovery team. Dr. Shaver asked Walker for help keeping an eye out for sea turtles in need.

“We are going to still be there for these turtles, and do everything we can to save them,” said Walker.

Friends of the Ark and members of Keep Aransas County Beautiful stepped up to the plate. Between the two organizations, there are about 50 people who help Padre Island National Seashore patrol for sea turtles.

“So we’ve been able to do some patrolling,” said Walker. “All last week we were out here.”

Now, those volunteers do daily beach patrols. They focus on areas where cold-stunned sea turtles are typically found, like Bird Island Basin, Laguna Shores, Packery Channel and the JFK Causeway.

Beachgoers are also helping out too. One man KRIS 6 spoke to says he’s spotted sea turtles before.

“So I called and notified the authorities that indeed there are sea turtles on the beach,” he said.

It’s an all-around effort to save the sea turtles.

“People come together to help them, and find a way to be there for the sea turtles and for the community,” said Walker.

The two organizations say they will continue to help Padre Island National Seashore until the government shutdown ends.