Texas State Aquarium releases endangered loggerhead turtles after months of treatment

9 turtles were released on Saturday at the North Padre Sea Wall

CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas State Aquarium released nine loggerhead sea turtles into the Gulf of Mexico after they were rehabilitated at its program in Corpus Christi.

The aquarium has been caring for more than 40 loggerhead sea turtles that washed ashore along the Texas coast this year and were either injured, underweight, emaciated or otherwise showed strange behavior.

The nine turtles were nursed back to health after months of rehabilitation, and they fully recovered from their health complications after receiving physical exams, bloodwork, x-rays and antibiotic treatments, the aquarium said.

The turtles were released on Saturday at the North Padre Sea Wall. Three of them had transmitters on their backs to track their movements.

The transmitters “will help scientists track their migratory movements, their marine habitat locations, how the turtles use these different habitats, and the migration routes turtles travel between habitats,” according to a news release from the aquarium.

Wildlife experts are investigating what’s making the turtles fall ill and wash ashore.

Due to the influx of stranded turtles, the aquarium had to create temporary housing at the nearby 26,000-square-foot Striker Building at the Port of Corpus Christi.

The temporary housing includes a repurposed dam flood control system that holds 40,000 gallons of water and includes two 20-foot by 70-foot pools.

The pools can hold up to 24 sea turtles each, the aquarium said. Each turtle has about 60 square feet of space.

Loggerhead sea turtles are found around the world, and nine of its population segments are either listed as endangered or threatened, according to NOAA.

They primarily nest along the coasts of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, but can occasionally visit the Texas coast, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

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About the Author

Rebecca Salinas is an award-winning digital journalist who joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.

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