The recent winter storm that blasted through the U.S. last week not only affected millions of Americans; it also caused thousands of sea turtles to freeze. The chilling temps paralyzed the turtles, washing them up on the beaches of South Padre Island by the hundreds.
Water temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit cause sea turtles’ heart rates to slow, which eventually causes them to become paralyzed and conscious or “cold-stunned.” The devastating cold front dropped temperatures in Texas down to the teens, resulting in the largest cold-stun event ever recorded in the area.
Luckily, large groups of volunteers were able to gather thousands of cold-stunned sea turtles. Sea Turtle Inc., a nonprofit organization that has been directing rescue efforts, collected and housed over 5,000 sea turtles on the island, despite the significant power outages and lack of heat. After a few days of helping the turtles heal, they have begun releasing