CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas State Aquarium’s Wildlife Rescue and Recovery Center recently released 201 rehabilitated green sea turtles back into their natural habitat at Padre Island National Seashore in Corpus Christi, Texas. Staff and volunteers from Padre Island National Seashore and NOAA's Fisheries Office of Protected Resources also participated in the release.

The green sea turtles were brought into the Wildlife Rescue and Recovery Center late last week and into the weekend after they were found suffering from cold-stunning, a hypothermic reaction that sea turtles can develop when exposed to a sudden drop in water temperature. During their most recent sea turtle intake and rehab event, the Aquarium assisted with answering the turtle-stranding hotline, initial animal assessments, animal transports, and the coordinating of the release. 37 sea turtles were admitted on January 17, followed by 61 sea turtles on January 18, 93 patients on January 19, and 10 turtles on January 20. In under a week, the Aquarium’s rehab team took in 201 sea turtles, bringing their total sea turtle patients in 2018 to 963 animals.

By Sunday, many of the recently-admitted sea turtles in addition to several other previously admitted patients had recovered their ability to swim and feed and were determined ready for release.  As of January 22, approximately 20 sea turtles are still receiving supportive care at the Wildlife Rescue and Recovery Center.

The Texas State Aquarium is asking the public to watch for cold-stunned turtles on the beach, especially during colder days. If you locate a stranded turtle, do not attempt to touch or handle it, but notify professional wildlife rescuers.

To report a stranded sea turtle on North Padre Island or in the upper Laguna Madre area, call: 361-949-8173 ext. 226. For other areas, call 1-866-TURTLE-5.