Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Sea Turtle Release

Skip and I and our friends, Susan and David, who are visiting from Florida, paid a visit to the nearby sea turtle rehab/sanctuary last Friday. It was the first time we'd been there even though it is within walking distance of the condo and this is the 5th winter out of the past eight that we've spent here on South Padre Island.

The sanctuary contains many tanks in which there are 4 resident green sea turtles and many others being rehabbed for release. The residents are unable to be released back to the sea because they are either too damaged (missing limbs or damaged shell) or have become too dependent on humans. A couple of weeks ago, the water temperature in the Gulf suddenly dropped causing a cold stun - a type of hypothermia which paralyzes the green sea turtles. 16 were brought in, documented, micro-chipped, and were rehabilitated in preparation for release.

Yesterday was the scheduled release day at the bottom of South Padre Island in Isla Blanca Park. There was tons of traffic as hundreds of people showed up for the release event. I dropped my passengers off and went to park the car. This is what the group looked like on the beach as I made my way to my people.
A path from the parking lot (right) to the Gulf (left) had been cordoned off and people lined up about 3 and 4 on each side.

Once I found my group, I took a panoramic shot with my back to the Gulf.
The sea turtles arrived by police escort. They were stuck in traffic, too, so arrived a bit late.

There was even a drone above the shore. It measured no more than 3 feet x 3 feet.  I assume there was some type of camera aboard. There was also a TV crew in attendance.
One by one, volunteers brought the sea turtles from the parking lot to the water, taking time to show them to each side of onlookers.

It was a very happy event. 
This gentleman was the one who did the presentation at the centre last week. His presentation was excellent - concise and informative.
Here's a video I took of one little guy who splashed through a couple of waves upon release but started getting washed ashore so had to be helped out to sea again. That's my voice saying "Goodbye little guy!".

It was such a feel-good event. The volunteers at the rescue centre do a fantastic job. It is free to visit but a $3 donation is suggested. We were very lucky to be there in time to learn about the release. We will definitely be visiting again.

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