In past years for similar coastal freezes, cold-stunned sea turtles in Texas have typically been held in captivity to recuperate for weeks until sea water temperatures rose. But two factors have prompted Texas wildlife workers to return turtles to the wild faster. First, experts in Florida who’ve had similar recent experiences with cold-stunned turtles advised returning them to the water as soon as possible. Second, the sheer numbers of rescued turtles have overwhelmed available facilities, so that many are on floors or wrapped in blankets, and experts say it’s better for them to return to water.
“There is no doubt we saved these turtles’ lives; they would have perished in the cold if left on the bays and beaches,” said Donna Shaver.