Sea Turtle Rescuers Brace for Another Round of Cold Weather - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Sea Turtle Rescuers Brace for Another Round of Cold Weather

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CORPUS CHRISTI (Kiii News) -

Cold-stunned green sea turtles continue turning up after two recent bouts of cold weather, and with a third coming this weekend, there are definitely some concerns.

Temperatures are going to warm up by Friday morning, but by nightfall, they are expected to drop back into the 40s, and will continue through the weekend.

According to Dr. Donna Shaver with the National Parks Service, since the most recent round of cold temperatures that began Dec. 7, cold-stunned turtles have continued to turn up at an average rate of 40-44 per day statewide. The first bout of cold weather, between Nov. 25-30, was less severe.

On Wednesday, 44 were found in Texas, and 10 of those were found locally. Shaver expects to see more of that in coming days. As of around noon Thursday, 17 cold-stunned turtles were found statewide, five of which were found locally.

When a turtle is sighted, rescue teams from the National Seashore take them to Animal Rehabilitation Keep in Port Aransas, where they are warmed and kept safe until water temperatures rise to a level that is safe for the sea turtles. Because of the cold weather expected this weekend, however, Shaver said there are no plans in the state for releasing the turtles.

If the weather continues to warm next week, Shaver hopes they can release some turtles in deep bay waters or on Gulf beaches, but they will have to keep any eye on more long-range forecasting before that can happen.

Crews will continue searching for cold-stunned sea turtles throughout the weekend, in areas from Bird Island Basin to the land cut, as well as the canals in North Padre Island.

If you see a cold-stunned sea turtle, be sure to report it immediately by calling the Padre Island National Seashore at 361-949-8173 ext. 226, or the ARK in Port Aransas at 361-442-7638.

Shaver said to report the turtles even if they appear dead, because if they are cold-stunned, they will immobile.

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