National

Dec 11, 2013 1:12 PM by David Randall

Too cold for turtles

PORT ARANSAS, Texas - 'Cold stunned' sea turtles have been washing ashore these past few weeks. It's all a result of the last couple cold fronts that have moved through the coastal bend.

Dozens of green sea turtles, have been spotted and are now recovering at the A.R.K. Rehabilitation Center at the Marine Science Institute.

45 sea turtles were rescued after they were found frozen along parts of Laguna Madre. Tony Amos with A.R.K. says the culprit was this past weekend's cold weather that rolled in.

"It was too cold for sea turtles, I can tell you how many we've done this year 350 but in the cold stun event at least 60 or 70," Amos said.

When exposed to cold water, these endangered turtles become numb and can't swim. They can die if their body temperature isn't warmed up. However, that part of the rehab is a gradual process.

"We don't want to just warm them up immediately so we put them on the floor this is called dry docking. By the end of the day most of these will be out of these tubs and in a big tank," he added.

For now though, all the turtles are in a climate controlled room and sadly sometimes that isn't even enough. Amos says two died overnight and it's still too cold to release the rest.

"This cold stunned event happened early in the year which is not good because the water is not going to get warmer in general, it's going to get colder," he said.

Once the temperatures warm up he and his team will take the turtles back to the water.

"We take them down to the gulf beach and let them go into the sea, which is generally a little warmer than the bays. We also hope that when a norther comes through, it'll sweep them down south," Amos said.

Each turtle will be tagged so they can be identified and tracked.

 

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