Thousands of sea turtles were rescued this week on Padre Island, at the southern tip of Texas. The rare winter blast produced a condition called cold-stun in the turtles, in which their body temperatures drop so low that they lose their ability to swim, eat or even hold their head above water, according to The New York Times:
“You could put a cold-stunned turtle in a half an inch of water and they’d drown,” said Wendy Knight, the executive director of Sea Turtle Inc., a nonprofit group in South Padre Island, Texas, that is helping keep the turtles safe until they can return to the water.
Turtles that have been rescued by people on beaches or in boats are being put on plastic-covered pallets and allowed to warm for several days in the South Padre Island Convention Center.
While the convention center is wall to wall turtles (watch NBC video above), Sea Turtle, Inc., a nearby non-profit which rehabilitates injured turtles, was without power for days.
— David Beard (@dabeard) February 19, 2021
According to CNN SpaceX, Elon Musk’s nearby rocket company, lent the non-profit a generator to help save the turtles.
Because of the generator, turtles already housed at the facilities, along with newcomers, have been able to warm up. But the prolonged power outage has blown out all 10 of the facility’s heaters and coolers, and each costs thousands of dollars to replace. Despite this, the team at Sea Turtle, Inc. remains hopeful.