The Journal Gazette
Saturday, February 27, 2021 1:00 am

Stunned sea turtles returning to the wild

The recent wintry weather in Texas left catastrophic conditions for citizens, but many of the Lone Star State's animal residents also were affected – particularly sea turtles.

The ocean-going reptiles aren't used to cold weather, and species in the Gulf of Mexico were stunned – literally – to find themselves in freezing waters. Thousands of the turtles along the Texas coast were cold-stunned, a condition which can lead to hypothermic reactions and death.

Residents took action, working to save their flippered friends using kayaks, pickup trucks and members of the U.S. military.

The Washington Post reported a group of about 50 Navy pilots, flight students, spouses and others worked to gather more than 1,000 turtles from one area.

Some used kayaks to reach the wounded turtles, and others wielded laundry baskets to gather the animals.

“It was like an apocalypse of turtles littered on the beach,” Will Bellamy, an Army and Marine Corps veteran who helped with the rescue effort, told the newspaper.

There's good news. Temperatures have risen in the Gulf, and some rescued turtles now have been released back into their habitats.

Sea Turtle Inc., a rehab center on South Padre Island, returned more than 2,000 turtles to the water this week.

“We still have lots of work to do, but we are rejuvenated with passion and having seen our first released turtles swim away,” the center told NBC News.

Sign up for our Opinion newsletter

Sent daily