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Thousands of sea turtles rescued during freezing cold snap in Texas

The South Padre Island Convention Centre is now full of turtles.

Thousands of Atlantic green sea turtles and Kemp's ridley sea turtles suffering from cold stun are laid out to recover
Thousands of Atlantic green sea turtles and Kemp's ridley sea turtles suffering from cold stun are laid out to recover

RESIDENTS IN THE US, some of whom lack heat or basic amenities in their own homes due to the unusually chilly weather, have been rescuing cold-stunned sea turtles and taking them to a convention centre in a south Texas resort town.

“Every 15 minutes or less, there’s another truck or SUV that pulls up,” Ed Caum, executive director of the South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau, told the Associated Press.

He said sometimes people bring one or two sea turtles, sometimes more.

“We had trailers full yesterday coming in that had 80, 100, 50,” he said.

The South Padre Island Convention Centre started pitching in on Monday when its neighbour, Sea Turtle Inc, could no longer handle the number of sea turtles being dropped off, and their mostly outdoor operation had lost power.

Caum said the convention centre itself did not have power or water until early yesterday morning.

He said they have “collected” more than 3,500 sea turtles so far.

Caum said he hesitates to use the word rescued because “we know we’re going to lose some”.

He said that with another cold front approaching, they do not know when they will be able to return the sea turtles to the water.

Temperatures in the area on Wednesday afternoon were in low single figures.

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Caum said it may be Saturday – when temperatures are expected to reach above 15 degrees – before the turtles can be released back into the Gulf.

He said with power returned they have been able to bring the convention centre’s temperature to 15 degrees.

“We’re trying to do the best we can to save as many turtles as possible,” Mr Caum said.

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