CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Texas State Aquarium Wildlife Rescue Team has admitted 245 cold-stunned sea turtles to its Wildlife Rescue Program, according to a release.
The release states when water and air temperatures drop rapidly in shallow bays and estuaries such as the Laguna Madre, sea turtles become lethargic.
Over Christmas weekend, the cold front dropped temperatures low enough for sea turtles to be unable to swim.
"Rescuers have been finding cold-stunned turtles throughout the Laguna Madre and other bays and estuaries over the past few days and have been bringing them to the Aquarium's Rescue Center for treatment," officials with the TSA said in the release.
Padre Island National Seashore, NOAA Fisheries, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Texas Sealife Center, the Amos Rehabilitation Keep and other rescue teams have worked nonstop over the holidays on the intake, documentation, and transportation of the cold-stunned turtles.
The release states the aquarium's wildlife rescue team and staff assessed the health of the sea turtles as they arrived, and promptly started treatment for cold-stunning.
"Some of the sea turtles have already regained enough strength to be placed in an emergency rehabilitation pool set up at the Aquarium's Rescue Center," the release states. "The rest are being monitored in a warming room until they are ready to go into the rehabilitation pool."
Aquarium staff created an emergency rehabilitation pool made of repurposed dam flood control system to accommodate the turtles.
These sea turtles are being housed next to the remaining loggerhead sea turtles that TSA has been caring for since July, the release states.
The aquarium will care for the turtles until they are healthy enough for their release.
According to the release, with temperatures warming up, the majority of the turtles should be ready to be released into the gulf with just a couple more days of rehabilitation.