On Monday, 25 green sea turtles were given a second chance at life after being proclaimed healthy by the Houston Zoo’s animal care professionals. These turtles were stunned by the recent freeze and rescued from the waters around Galveston, Texas.
After being rescued by Texas Parks and Wildlife and Master Naturalist volunteers and being cared for by the Houston Zoo’s partners at Texas A&M University – Galveston (TAMUG), the turtles were deemed healthy to return to the Gulf of Mexico. Due to continued cold water temperatures, the turtles were taken 13 miles offshore in TAMUG’s research vessel, the Trident.
The Houston Zoo is continuing to provide veterinary care for 11 additional turtles that were not yet ready for release.
People are urged to call 1-866-TURTLE-5 if they find or accidentally catch a sea turtle so that an expert can assess the turtle and provide care if needed.
Some threats sea turtles face in the Gulf are:
There are five species of sea turtles inhabiting the Gulf of Mexico, all of which are considered to be either threatened or endangered. They include the Kemp’s ridley, green, leatherback, Atlantic hawksbill, and loggerhead sea turtles.
- Plastic pollution
- Entanglement in recreational fishing line, commercial fishing nets and recreational hooks
- Vehicle traffic
- Development of beaches and light pollution
Sea turtle populations are slowly recovering thanks to the collaborative effort of scientists, non-profits, universities, grass roots organizations and many dedicated people.
The Houston Zoo connects communities with animals, inspiring action to save wildlife. Established in 1922, today the Zoo is a leading conservation and education nonprofit organization providing care to thousands of animals. All while remaining a cherished destination for fun, family, and inspiration for all of Houston’s diverse communities. The Houston Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation. To stay informed about the Houston Zoo, visit www.houstonzoo.org.