Rescuers have been busy the past two days going to the aid of stranded sea turtles. Following on the heels of the 25 or so dead green sea turtles that washed ashore a few weeks ago, approximately 188 cold, stunned and stranded sea turtles were found in the lower Laguna Madre area over the weekend. Around 10 of the turtles were dead.
Due to the vast number of turtles collected, most were sent to Sea Turtle Inc. on South Padre Island and some were sent to the Coastal Studies Lab in Isla Blanca Park. The turtles were found along the Boca Chica jetties, Barracuda Cove and in the ship channel, according to Jean Pettit, administrative assistant at Sea Turtle Inc. “We’ve been working 10 to 12-hour days on Sunday and Monday,” Pettit said. “There’s a lot of federal paperwork involved since they’re protected by federal law.”
The process is labor intensive.
Each turtle is measured with both tape and calipers, weighed and its injuries marked. “A notation is made where the turtle was found and GPS coordinates are listed for the location. The turtle then receives an arm band stranding number.
After rehabilitation and before being re-released, the turtles are pit-tagged (similar to microchipping). “It’s a process and it’s time consuming, because you have to be meticulous with your paperwork,” Pettit said. “We’re not sure when and where they’ll be released, but sometime this week. We just want to get them back in the water as soon as possible.”
By PAMELA CODY Staff Writer