Hundreds of sea turtles have been washing ashore along the Gulf Coast for the past few months, keeping volunteers and the staff at the Amos Rehabilitation Keep in Port Aransas, extremely busy this summer.
Last summer they took in 99 green sea turtles. This year, between the months of May and June, the ARK has rescued close to 300 sea turtles. This is something the ARK has never seen before and, at the same time, pretty exciting times because that tells them the turtle conservations are working.
The Amos Rehabilitation Keep, also known as the “ARK”, has been on the go for the past couple of months after hundreds of injured turtles were found washed up on county beaches.
“We are having a big boom in green sea turtles strandings due to meteorological events such as high tides, wind and surf and that’s getting the turtles a little tired. So they are washing up on the beaches and getting stuck in our jetty rocks,” said ARK program coordinator Alicia Walker.
So far this summer, 291 turtles have been admitted to the sea turtle hospital.
“So many of them are pretty healthy; they just need a little time to recuperate and maybe some free groceries. But others need more extensive care because they have been getting beat up on the jetty rocks. They have abrasions on the bottom of their shell prasion, and we have to do bandage changes and antibiotics, fluid therapy, and different things,” said Walker.
Anyone who finds a stranded sea turtle, do not touch or move the animal.
“Definitely the first thing you should do is call us; we can help you with what to do from there. But you should not touch them, they are endangered species and touching them and handling them could land you some hefty fines,” said Walker.
In the past few weeks, the staff at the ARK says they have released 164 turtles back into Gulf.
The Amos Rehabilitation Keep advises anyone who finds a stranded to call 1-866-TURTLE5. ARK officials will coordinate a recovery of the reptile to the nearest sea turtle rehabilitation facility.
Care for injured coastal marine birds and turtles. This job is rewarding, but tough. If you love coastal critters and don’t mind cleaning cages, doing laundry, and cutting up fish then the ARK is the place for you.
The University of Texas Marine Science Institute Phone: 361-749-6711