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Rescued sea turtles in Texas returned to Gulf of Mexico

US coast guard sea turtle return.jpg
Posted at 10:02 AM, Feb 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-23 11:06:08-05

On Monday, sea turtles that the were rescued from frigid waters near Texas last week are being returned to the Gulf of Mexico.

Members of US Coast Guard, Texas Game Wardens, and Texas State Aquarium worked to release around 146 sea turtles back to the Gulf.

More than 1,000 turtles, stunned by the frigid waters and unable to swim, were picked up by the US Coast Guard and Texas Game Wardens as temperatures dropped to below freezing last week.

The sea turtles were taken to rehabilitation facilities to recover and then will slowly be released back into the wild as the weather warms up.

Coast Guard sea turtles.jpg

On Monday, around 146 sea turtles were released back into the water after crews searched for areas of water with temperatures of at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit in order to safely release the turtles, the coast guard says.

More rehabilitated sea turtles are planned to be safely released throughout the week. The Texas State Aquarium says that on Tuesday, several hundred more turtles are expected to be release.

“Working with our partners in the Texas State Aquarium and Texas Game Wardens to release these animals back into the wild is a surreal experience,” said Coast Guard Ensign Austin Sawicki. “Getting to play a small part in keeping the green sea turtle population safe is a very rewarding experience.”

According to the National Park Service, like all reptiles, sea turtles are ectothermic (cold-blooded) and cannot regulate their body temperature. If water temperatures drop below approximately 50°F (10°C), sea turtles become lethargic and are unable to swim. They float up to the surface and become vulnerable to boat strikes or wash ashore and become stranded. If not rescued quickly, these defenseless animals often die of shock, predation, or trauma due to boat strike.

See more photos from the return mission below:

Today members of Sector / Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas Game Wardens, and Texas State Aquarium worked to release...

Posted by U.S. Coast Guard Sector / Air Station Corpus Christi on Monday, February 22, 2021

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