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Record Number of Turtles Rescued at University of Texas Marine Science Institute

Record Number of Turtles Rescued at University of Texas Marine Science Institute

Winter Storm Uri caused damage and hardship across the state of Texas, and at the Port Aransas campus of the University of Texas at Austin, the work to recover from it included rehabilitating a record number of sea turtles threatened by the cold weather.

Staff at the Amos Rehabilitation Keep (ARK) at The University of Texas Marine Science Institute received 900 live sea turtles under threat from cold-water temperatures that had dipped to levels that are almost always fatal.

"We wish to extend a sincere thank you to all of the volunteers and our partners who have helped collect and transport sea turtles during the freezing and difficult conditions," the Marine Science Institute said in a web post.

Sea turtles are cold‐blooded reptiles that require warm temperatures. When the water dips below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, turtles experience what is known as "cold stun," with decreased heart rate and circulation, leading to lethargy followed by shock, pneumonia and often death. Experts say this month's storm represented the largest cold stunning event in the United States since at least 1980, when the Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network was established. By Monday, February 22, more than 10,600 sea turtles had been recovered along the Texas coast, according to Donna J. Shaver, the Texas coordinator for the network, including the 900 at UTMSI.

As the sea turtles started arriving, the ARK's sea water tanks were quickly filled to capacity. The overflow went to the Institute's heated auditorium, where about 700 turtles were treated.

On Monday, 850 sea turtles were released off shore. A pair of vessels donated by Port Aransas Fisherman's Wharf transported hundreds of turtles at a time for release, 30-50 miles offshore into waters that had warmed to the 55-degree threshold required to prevent a secondary stunning event.

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Comments 5

 
Guest - Vanessa Noya on Tuesday, 02 March 2021 14:23

Kudos and gratitude to the UT Marine Science Institute for their incredible and successful efforts to save 900 sea turtles! My late father was a marine biologist who was proud of his involvement in inventing the Turtle Excluder Device (TED) which is still in use by the fishing industry to allow sea turtles to escape from the huge fishing nets used in commercial fisheries. Thank you so much to all involved for your efforts to save these amazing, beautiful creatures!

Kudos and gratitude to the UT Marine Science Institute for their incredible and successful efforts to save 900 sea turtles! My late father was a marine biologist who was proud of his involvement in inventing the Turtle Excluder Device (TED) which is still in use by the fishing industry to allow sea turtles to escape from the huge fishing nets used in commercial fisheries. Thank you so much to all involved for your efforts to save these amazing, beautiful creatures!
Guest - Stanley Bilicki on Tuesday, 02 March 2021 16:46

FANTASTIC JOB...I, AND MY FAMILY MEMBERS, ARE EXCITED TO OBSERVE THE WONDERS OF NATURE, AND ARE SO PLEASED WITH THE GREAT WORK YOU, AND PEOPLE LIKE YOU, ARE DOING....BRAVO!!

FANTASTIC JOB...I, AND MY FAMILY MEMBERS, ARE EXCITED TO OBSERVE THE WONDERS OF NATURE, AND ARE SO PLEASED WITH THE GREAT WORK YOU, AND PEOPLE LIKE YOU, ARE DOING....BRAVO!!
Guest - Anne Adkins on Friday, 26 March 2021 12:38

What a heartwarming and profound community collaboration to preserve our natural environment. Thanks to all for this spontaneous and tremendous effort!

What a heartwarming and profound community collaboration to preserve our natural environment. Thanks to all for this spontaneous and tremendous effort!
Guest - Patricia on Friday, 26 March 2021 14:16

this melts my heart .. what an awesome job .. "what starts here changes the world"

this melts my heart .. what an awesome job .. "what starts here changes the world"
Guest - Mitch on Friday, 26 March 2021 18:45

Wonderful sight to see the release of so many turtles back to the ocean! I believe Tony Amos (RIP) would be smiling and pleased to know so many volunteers and UTMSI were able to help save so many turtles. Mr. Amos set an excellent example caring for the marine animals at the ARK. I hope we all can do our part for the environment and follow his example.

Wonderful sight to see the release of so many turtles back to the ocean! I believe Tony Amos (RIP) would be smiling and pleased to know so many volunteers and UTMSI were able to help save so many turtles. Mr. Amos set an excellent example caring for the marine animals at the ARK. I hope we all can do our part for the environment and follow his example.
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