Texas University Staff Rescue Turtles Amidst Winter Storm
As the winter storm Uri caused havoc in the State of Texas causing extensive damage and hardships, the situation turned miserable for turtles. The staff at the Amos Rehabilitation Keep (ARK) at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute received 900 live sea turtles under threat from coldwater temperatures that had dipped to fatal levels. Sea turtles are coldblooded reptiles that require warm temperatures. When the water dips below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, turtles experience what is known as ‘cold stun,’ with decreased heart rate and circulation, leading to lethargy followed by shock, pneumonia and often death. The February 2021 storm represented the largest cold stunning event in the United States since at least 1980, when the Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network was established. As the sea turtles started arriving, the ARK’s sea water tanks were quickly filled to capacity. The overflow went to the Institute’s heated auditorium, where about 700 turtles were treated. Subsequently, 850 sea turtles were released off shore.