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Local man helps rescue cold-stunned sea turtles

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Posted at 8:03 PM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-17 23:02:12-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — These frigid temperatures are having a big impact on our marine life.

Hundreds of cold stunned sea turtles are being rescued from our gulf and coastal waters. Among those helping several agencies involved is a fisherman from the island, who just wants to help save the turtles.

They're easier to spot from the air than the water, but they're out there and they need help, says local fisherman, Chris Shindledecker.

"They range anywhere from probably five to ten pounds all the way up to 60, 70 pounds," he said.

Shindledecker and his wife, Jennifer, have spent the last two days getting a little stunned themselves, literally wading into the bay rescuing cold stunned sea turtles.

"They're floating, you'll barely be able to see the top of their shells floating and a lot of times they get stuck on the banks and that's where we're picking them up on," he said.

They've been spending most of their time along the JFK Causeway. Then he takes them to the Texas Sealife Center on Padre Island.

"We started doing this yesterday and we got about 20 or so yesterday and today we're at about 100 so far," he said.

It's been a dawn-to-dusk job, so why does it do it?

"Just trying to help out you know," he said. "I'm a hunting-and-fishing guy, that's what I do for a living. I'm out here almost everyday anyway and I enjoy seeing these guys during the summer swimming around and they're in endangered so we're just trying to protect the species."

The stunned turtles will go to the Padre Island National Seashore to be processed, evaluated and nursed back to health.

And for Shindledecker, a man who hunts and fishes for a living, there's no doubt these cold stunned sea turtles may be among his most prized catch ever.