On Dec. 18, 2013, Sea Turtle, Inc., a sea turtle rescue center on South Padre Island, Texas, released around 100 Atlantic Green sea turtles that had been stranded during the previous week’s cold front. Because temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico had dropped too quickly, the sea turtles had become either lethargic or cold-stunned, and many were washed ashore. Due to the efforts of Sea Turtle, Inc. volunteers and concerned citizens, only four sea turtles were reported dead. The rest were rescued to be released at a warmer time. The following photos depict that release.
3. Around 1:30 p.m., onlookers gathered on a stretch of shore between the Isla Blanca Park’s southern pavilion and South Padre Island’s algae-covered jetties, anxiously awaiting the sea turtles’ arrival.
8. By 2:00 p.m., more than 200 spectators lined the barriers fashioned out of caution tape that had been constructed on each side of the release area to protect the sea turtles from any accidental harm.
11. Within twenty minutes, seven or eight trucks lined the sidewalk of the beach access. One by one, they backed into the cleared site and volunteers stood by to unload and assist the turtles on their journey back into the Gulf of Mexico.
16. Meanwhile, the Sea Turtle, Inc. dog watched over his turtle friends.
17. Some turtles even waved goodbye.
19. Others bowed for a grand exit.
23. Big or small, they released ‘em all.
29. “Hello, yes, I am turtle.”
30. One turtle slowly closed his eyes when his first wave back in the water rushed underneath his belly and back through his flippers.
32. As the last turtle to re-enter the water, our sentimental reptile lifted flipper after flipper into the waves.
35. Toodle-loo, turtles! Stay warm!
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