They will drown if they are not taken out of the water after being stunned.
Volunteers in Texas are going to set free almost 5,000 sea turtles that they felt were in danger during two very cold winter storms.
Once the weather got cooler on Saturday, Sea Turtle Inc., the group whose job it is to save sea turtles along the Gulf of Mexico coast, brought the turtles in. Wendy Knight, the CEO of the group, told ABC News on Wednesday that the group had taken in about 4,800 turtles.
Even though the group makes plans every fall in case of a cold-stun event, Knight said they weren’t expecting things to get so bad.
She said, “This has been the biggest cold-stunter event ever recorded.” “We were not ready.”
Because they get too cold, turtles can’t move or, more importantly, keep their heads above water when it’s cold. She said that getting the turtles out of the water after shocking them is very important for their safety because if they don’t, they will die.
South Padre Island, Texas, is the best place for rare sea turtles to nest and live because it is protected by the federal government. Knight says that the area is known for its environmental efforts and played a big part in saving the turtles.
As soon as it looked like it would be below freezing, a lot of people with boats and nets came to get the animals.
She said, “Response is ingrained in the community,” and most of them didn’t have heat or water themselves. “That’s what we do.”
Knight says that at an average cold-stunning event, there will be 100 to 200 turtles, and at a bigger event, there may be 500. Once there were 525 turtles, the group’s building could no longer hold them, so the rest had to be moved to the South Padre Island Convention Center.
Even though neither building had power at first, Knight said that it was still much better for the turtles than if they had stayed outside.
The turtles will wake up and act normally when the weather gets better.
Knight said, “We’ll start to see them move their flippers and raise their heads.”
She also said that the group was getting ready to let them go back into the Gulf of Mexico.
Knight said, “It looks like things are going our way.”
Knight said that the power had been returned to the convention center on Wednesday, but not to Sea Turtle Inc.’s factory until Thursday.
There were other animals in the area that did not do as well during the storms. Twelve primates died on Monday when the power went out at Primarily Primates, a large animal sanctuary in Bexar County, Texas.