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Naval Air Station Corpus Christi environmental team recovers cold-stunned sea turtles

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Posted at 4:57 PM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 18:09:32-05

CORPUS CHRIST, Texas — Recently, four cold-stunned sea turtles were recovered by the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi's environmental team.

The federally and state-protected animals are common along the Corpus Christi shorelines, bays, and inlets of the Laguna Madre, according to the National Park Service.

“They may wash ashore, becoming stranded,” said Biji Pandisseril, NASCC’s environmental manager. “If not rescued quickly, these helpless animals often die of exposure or predation. Green sea turtle numbers are too low right now to afford any losses.”

Like many reptiles, sea turtles are ectothermic or cold-blooded. This means they rely on their surroundings to keep them warm. Seaturtles.org says that the turtles will become lethargic when water temperatures dip below 50 degrees. This could lead to shock, pneumonia, frostbite, and potentially death.

“In this case, the temperatures were in the 30s and volunteers were needed to help search, recover and transport cold-stunned turtles,” said Cyndi Cisneros, with NASCC environmental. “It was quite sad to find (the sea turtle) wedged between two rocks with a huge gash on his shell. I was glad to have helped him.”

These sea-turtles were found in response to an alert from Padre Island National Seashore Division of Sea Turtle Science Recovery. However, the NASCC environmental personnel, who are certified by the National Park Service to handle the stunned or stranded sea turtles, say they check the coastline regularly.

The NASCC environmental team suggests calling them at (361) 961-3776 to report a nearby cold-stunned turtle to be transferred to the Sea Turtle Division of the Padre Island National Seashore.

Read more local stories on cold-stunned sea turtles:

PINS: Cold snap leads to 88 cold-stunned sea turtles

Cold-stunned turtles on road to recovery after rescues

Texas State Aquarium cares for cold-stunned turtles from New England