You’re harming sea creatures when you release balloons, Padre Island National Seashore officials warn

Sea turtles mistakenly eat balloons they confuse for jellyfish

Pile of washed up balloons in the back of a ranger vehicle.
Pile of washed up balloons in the back of a ranger vehicle. (National Park Service Photos)

PADRE ISLAND NATIONAL SEASHORE, Texas – Hold on to your balloons - it’s a message that Padre Island National Seashore (PINS) officials have shared numerous times.

PINS officials posted to Facebook saying that rangers who were out driving the beaches after recent, extreme coastal flooding spotted “quite a few balloons amongst other trash.”

The post was shared with a photo that officials described as “just a small picture of the balloons that were found."

Sea turtles mistakenly eat balloons, confusing the balloons for jellyfish and birds can easily get tangled up in balloon strings.

“This is harmful not only to the sea turtles that nest here, but other wildlife as well,” officials said. “Many of our scavengers, like raccoons, coyotes or even caracaras and vultures, will eat anything and they may mistake these balloons for a tasty treat.”

A previous reminder about the dangers of balloons for wildlife was posted after more than 60 balloons were found on the beach over Valentine’s Day weekend.

Andrew Ibarra, who at the time was an 8th grader at Gregory Portland Middle School, was celebrating his birthday at the beach when he decided to clean up the mess.

PINS officials are reminding everyone to “remember to hold on to your balloons if you have them and if you are using them celebrate an event, try to find a more environmentally friendly option if you can.”

When we started experiencing extreme coastal flooding in the last few weeks, our rangers went out to drive the beach and...

Posted by Padre Island National Seashore on Wednesday, October 21, 2020

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About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.