Note: The above video of the turtle release event is from our sister station KVEO in Brownsville
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (KXAN) — The cold snap felt across Texas in early February didn’t just affect human life, but it also did a number on sea turtles in Laguna Madre off the southern Texas coast.
The Texas State Aquarium stepped in to help 80 endangered sea turtles that were “cold-stunned” during the freeze Feb. 4-5. Aquarium staff cared for the cold-blooded turtles that get lethargic and are unable to swim when their body temperatures drop, and over a two-day period Feb. 7-8, released 73 of them back into the wild.
An arctic cold front that pushed through nearly all of Texas dropped water temperatures in the bay, and thus the turtles’ body temperatures also fell. Aquarium staff cleared out a portion of its ground floor and gave the turtles a temporary habitat where their bodies could gradually recover.
The U.S. Coast Guard station in Port Aransas helped release the turtles. Three of the biggest turtles were released Feb. 7, and the other 70 were let go off of Bob Hall Pier in Corpus Christi on Feb. 8.
The remaining seven are still in the aquarium’s care, but are expected to be released once they reach a healthy body temperature, aquarium officials said.