Thousands of turtles, rescued during last week’s winter storm, return to sea

A Texas nonprofit organization was able to release more than 2,200 previously cold-stunned turtles into the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday.

More than 2,000 turtles were released back into the sea on Sunday, a week after a rescue center started taking them in due to winter weather that left many in Texas without heat, power and water.

Sea Turtle Inc., the South Padre Island rehab center that rescued the turtles last week, made the announcement on Facebook.

“After an exhaustive 24-hour effort that went through the night and has just ended this morning, Sea Turtle Inc. was successfully able to release more than 2,200 previously cold-stunned turtles into the open ocean of the Gulf of Mexico,” the nonprofit organization said in the post.

When sea turtles become cold-stunned after being exposed to cold water for long periods, it can result in hypothermic reactions which can lead to death. South Padre Island was in the 40s last week, making it too cold for the turtles.

After taking some of the turtles last week due to the frigid weather, the rescue center lost power. Sea Turtle Inc. pleaded for assistance from the community to keep the turtles warm.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX responded to the call for help, donating the generator Sea Turtle Inc. needed to bring warmth back to turtle pools.

In a video accompanying the Facebook post, the turtles can be seen sliding down a boat and into the Gulf of Mexico.

“We still have lots of work to do but we are rejuvenated with passion and having seen our first released turtles swim away,” Sea Turtle Inc. said.