Several animal species have been threatened by record high temperatures in Texas this week, including an estimated 3,500 sea turtles that have been rescued and brought to the relative safety of dry land.
In cold weather, turtles can fall prey to a condition called “cold dizziness,” when their body temperature is so low that they lose their ability to swim, eat, or even keep their heads above water. ‘water.
“You could put a frozen stunned turtle in half an inch of water and it would drown,” said Wendy Knight, general manager of Sea Turtle Inc., a nonprofit group in South Padre Island, Texas. , which helps the turtles are safe until they can return to the water.
Turtles that have been rescued by people on beaches or in boats are placed on plastic-covered pallets and allowed to warm up for several days at the South Padre Island Convention Center.
Other Texas animals were also affected by the storm. A primate sanctuary in North Bexar County has reported the cold-related death of a chimpanzee, several monkeys, lemurs and tropical birds, according to The San Antonio Express-News. And El Paso Zoo found and rehabilitated a frigate – a type of seabird – after it was diverted from its route.
Ms Knight said the magnitude of the sea turtle’s cold stunning was the largest in decades and could have an impact at the population level. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, five species of sea turtles found in Texas are listed under the Endangered Species Act as “endangered” or “threatened.”
A few dozen turtles are also at immediate risk housed at Sea Turtle headquarters, where most are being rehabilitated for injuries. The facility is approaching its third day without power.