Sea Turtle Inc., the nonprofit marine turtle rescue and rehabilitation center on South Padre Island, released 65 turtles that were previously suffering from cold-snap, a form of turtle hypothermia, at Isla Blanca Park on Nov. 24 and 25. The release process occurred over two days because of the sheer number of turtles rescued by the shore due to the cold front. When they were brought in earlier in the month, 11 were held at the costal studies lab before being picked up to be put into a garage. Following the warmth rehabilitation process, the organization waited for a break from the chilly weather for temperatures to be consistently warm enough for an effective release, loaded the rejuvenated marine reptiles into vehicles and caution tape was put up in the area prior to their arrival to the shore. The rescued turtles were tagged before release to record a history of rescue in case they are ever found beached again. “We walked them out into the surf about waist high and then let them go right by the jetties,” said Megan Chilcutt, Marketing and Public Relations
for Sea Turtle Inc. “That way they could choose to swim back into the bay or go offshore and start migrating south. They were all ready to go after warming up but we just had to split up their release over a couple days because there were so many.” The need for rescue is a regular occurrence when the temperatures drop drastically in a short amount time and turtles don’t have enough time to leave the shallow water before succumbing to the cold. Over the course of a few days, they are warmed with heaters before being put in a
water tank. Once they show signs of acting as they normally do in the wild, they can be scheduled for a release. Release dates are schedule year round and the public is invited to witness their return back into the ocean.