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Cold weather brings largest cold-stunned sea turtle event in the last 40 years along the Texas Gulf Coast

1,846 turtles were found this week. About 50-percent were alive.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — This cold snap has not only been rough on humans, it is taking a toll on the sea turtle population. In fact, this is said to be the largest cold-stunned sea turtle event in 40 years.

Brandon Upton, a contractor working with the Padre Island National Seashore has been carrying officials on his airboat to survey the area for cold-stunned turtles.

"Unfortunately, this is a record-breaking cold-stunning event for the green sea turtles of Texas," Dr. Donna Shaver with PINS said.

Shaver estimates that 1,846 cold-stunned turtles were found along the Texas Gulf Coast. Only about half were found alive. 

"The largest one for the U.S. since 1980 was 4,613 in Florida, and I believe today we are going to go past that number," Shaver said.

Credit: 3News

Turtles that have not already been attacked by birds or coyotes are brought to warmer, dry places to see if they can revive on their own. If they do, they are transferred to water tanks for recovery. But this time, there is an added challenge: power outages.

"We only have five sea turtle rehabilitation facilities in Texas and three of them are currently without power," Shaver said. "One of those is the ARK and it's without power and water so the turtles have been evacuated from there to the Texas State Aquarium."

During this emergency, Shaver asks that anyone who find a cold-stunned turtle to call the Sea Turtle Rescue Number at (866) 887-8535.

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.

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