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    NASCC environmental team recovers cold stunned, stranded sea turtles



    Story by Fifi Kieschnick 

    Naval Air Station Corpus Christi

    Our environmental team recovered four cold stunned, stranded green sea turtles found along Naval Air Station Corpus Christi’s Ocean Drive recently.
    It’s not uncommon to find stranded turtles after a particularly cold snap, according to Biji Pandisseril, NASCC’s environmental manager.
    The turtles leave the deep warm Gulf waters, approaching the coastline looking for food. These reptiles can’t regulate their body temperature. When the water temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, they become hypothermic and lose mobility. They float to the water’s surface becoming vulnerable to boat strikes.
    “They may wash ashore, becoming stranded,” said Pandisseril. “If not rescued quickly, these helpless animals often die of exposure or predation. Green sea turtle numbers are too low right now to afford any losses.”
    NASCC environmental personnel comb the coastline regularly. However, these sea turtles were found in response to a Sea turtle Cold Stunning Alert sent out to volunteers by Padre Island National Seashore Division of Sea Turtle Science Recovery.
    “In this case, the temperatures were in the 30s and volunteers were needed to help search, recover and transport cold stunned turtles,” said Cyndi Cisneros, with NASCC environmental. “It was quite sad to find (the sea turtle) wedged between two rocks with a huge gash on his shell. I was glad to have helped him.”
    Most of the cold stunned sea turtles that are rescued in the Corpus Christi area are found in inshore waters and shorelines along the bays and inlets of the Laguna Madre, according to the National Park Service. The shallow water here can change temperature rapidly, especially when a strong cold front passes through the area. As a result, the sea turtles swimming in those waters may not have enough time to navigate out of Laguna Madre and into the deeper, warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico before becoming cold-stunned.
    Our volunteers who searched and found the turtles that are protected as a threatened species by both the state of Texas and the Federal government. They have received the required training and were certified by the National Park Service to handle the stunned or stranded sea turtles.
    If you come across a turtle appearing to be cold stunned, please report it immediately. On base, call Navy environmental at (361) 961-3776. Off base, call (361) 949-8173 extension 268. After hours, call (361) 876-8462. Trained volunteers will pick up the turtles for transport to the recovery center. Provide the location of the turtle, the number of turtles found, and notes about the turtle (condition, injuries, size, etc.). Then, follow instructions provided, or wait for assistance. More information can be found at



    Date Taken: 01.28.2021
    Date Posted: 01.28.2021 15:24
    Story ID: 387850
    Location: CORPUS CHRISTI, TX, US 

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