Texas residents have been rescuing cold-stunned sea turtles and taking them to a convention centre in a South Texas resort town amid the unusually chilly weather.
The South Padre Island Convention Center started pitching in Monday when its neighbour, Sea Turtle Inc., could no longer handle the number of sea turtles being dropped off.
The convention centre itself didn’t have power or water till early Wednesday morning. SpaceX sent a generator large enough to cover the organization’s rehabilitation, education and conservation facilities.
“Every 15 minutes or less there’s another truck or SUV that pulls up,” Ed Caum, executive director of the South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau, told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
He said sometimes people bring one or two sea turtles, sometimes more. “We had trailers full yesterday coming in that had 80, 100, 50,” he said.
We’ve “collected” more than 3,500 sea turtles so far. He said he hesitates to use the word rescued because “we know we’re going to lose some.”
Caum said that with another cold front approaching, they don’t know when they’ll be able to return the sea turtles to the water.
While animals like dolphins or manatees are able to regulate their body temperatures internally, sea turtles’ body temperatures vary with surrounding water.
At very low temperatures, turtles can become cold-stunned.
According to the National Park Service, cold-stunned turtles are not able to move well. They become lethargic and often float to the surface or wash up onshore.
This can lead to death.