Texans typically worry about poisonous snakes and hurricanes—not snow. But this week, a huge winter storm—the most recent example of how climate change is affecting the world—swept the state, leaving millions of people without power. But citizens aren’t the only ones dealing with Texas’ coldest temperatures in more than 30 years. It’s also greatly affecting the wildlife—particularly the sea turtles in Texas.
Chimpanzees, lemurs, and birds are dying at sanctuaries, rehabilitation centers are asking people to leave a box with straw outside their homes to help protect wildlife, and cold-stunned sea turtles are washing up on shore. Volunteers have been working with Sea Turtle, Inc. on South Padre Island, Texas, to rescue thousands of sea turtles that have been paralyzed in shock and unable to swim due to the sub-zero temperatures.
One woman shared an inside look from her mom, who had filled her Subaru with turtles to transfer them to a local convention center. They were even able to rescue a 350-pound turtle that was over 100 years old. At this point, so many turtles have been rescued that her mom says the only way to describe the convention center is to “imagine a football field with turtles side by side and nose to tail.” And that’s just the beginning. The water is still at an unsafe temperature, meaning there are many more rescues to come.
It’s hard to hear about news, but there are some ways you can help from wherever you are. Sea Turtle, Inc. is asking the public to donate to its cause through PayPal, which will help the staff care for and rehabilitate the turtles. You can also shop the Amazon wishlist, which sends essential items directly to them, like first aid tape and headlamp flashlights. Also, spread the word. Share this story, and stay up-to-date with the rescue mission by following the organization on Instagram.
With a little help from people who care, these sea turtles in Texas will be swimming happily again soon.