Turtles released after historic ‘cold-stun’ event

Hundreds of green sea turtles are being released at Padre Island National Seashore after recovering from one of the worst cold-stunning events in recorded Texas history.

More than 1,600 sea turtles were rescued at the beginning of the month after being stunned by a sudden freeze. Turtles can’t regulate their body temperatures, so water below a certain temperature can result in their bodies shutting down.

The Galveston Sea Turtle Facility, with help from Moody Gardens, looked after about 300 sea turtles that were stunned from the cold last week.

The two groups released 75 of the turtles Tuesday and were set to release another 175 on Wednesday, Sea Turtle Program Manager Ben Higgins said.

turtle release

More than 20 turtles in Galveston are still recovering, and another 20 turtles had to be euthanized because of illnesses, Higgins said.

The turtles kept in Galveston were rescued mostly from Matagorda Bay and West Galveston Bay, although hundreds more were found down the Texas Gulf Coast, state officials said.

Higgins and others are releasing the turtles at Padre Island National Seashore, north of Corpus Christi, because the facility has the ability to handle a large number of turtles, Higgins said. Water also is warmer down the coast, he said.

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Samantha Ketterer: 409-683-5241; samantha.ketterer@galvnews.com

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