54 sea turtles returned to the wild
By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
With much fanfare, celebration and applause, staff and volunteers from Sea Turtle Inc. (STI) released 54 rehabilitated Atlantic green sea turtles back into the wild last Thursday.
STI rescued nearly 200 of the animals after a fast-moving cold weather system blew through the region just days after New Year’s. As reptiles, sea turtles are cold blooded and depend on their environment to regulate their body temperature, but the chilly blast quickly cooled the shallow waters of the Laguna Madre, causing many to become ‘cold stunned.’
STI staff and volunteers sprang into action, scouring local beaches and the Brownsville Ship Channel in search of turtles in need of help. After almost a week spent slowly warming beneath the glow of heaters, many of the turtles were in good enough condition to be released back into the wild, prompting Thursday’s public event.
The release was well attended by Valley locals and visitors alike, many of whom were awed by the sight of so many turtles just a few feet away. “I didn’t even know there was a sea turtle population here in this area,” said UTGRV student Johnmarc Candelaria.
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