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Wildlife advocates working together to rescue cold stunned sea turtles as lower temperatures approach

Dr. Donna Shaver with the Padre Island National Seashore said when animals become vulnerable, they turn into targets.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — This week, the Coastal Bend will see its coldest days of winter so far with some temperatures even in the 30s. Experts said when temperatures drop, wildlife like sea turtles and fish become the most vulnerable.

Dr. Donna Shaver with the Padre Island National Seashore said when animals become vulnerable, they turn into targets.

"They float to the surface and they wash ashore, and they can be hit by a boat while they're floating and as they wash ashore," Shaver said. 

"They can be predated by cayotes or birds while they're still alive. They can be killed by them and feasted upon. Or they can die due to exposure."

She added that a crew from different organizations will work together and save as many sea turtles and fish as possible.

"Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will be out, SeaWorld from San Antonio will come down and help, Padre Island National Seashore park service personal will be out, our whole staff and volunteers," Shaver said.

While plenty of hands are already on deck, there's still more room for help.

Brandon Upton runs a business called 'Sea Tow' and assists in water rescues and boat recoveries. He said when winter hits and there are fewer boat calls, he rescues stunned turtles. It's something he's done for years now.

Credit: 3News

"We're prepping for it right now with this major artic blast coming in," Brandon said. "We're getting our boats ready."

Because of him, a few hundred turtles made it to the other side of cold winters.

Brandon added that he doesn't have to step up for the wildlife in South Texas, but he still does it to give animals in need a second chance.

"The turtles don't have a voice," Brandon said. "They can't call on the phone or radio like the boaters can whenever they break down. They can't call when they're in trouble and need help."

If you're out and about and see wildlife in distress, you can call PINS, Texas Parks and Wildlife or other animal rescue organizations for help at 1-631-589-4023. You can visit their website here.

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.

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