As Spring Break kicked off this past weekend, six green sea turtles were released back into the wild in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, March 13. Five of these sea turtles were cold stunned and came in mid-January from Matagorda Bay. The Houston Zoo’s veterinary staff oversaw the care and treatment of these turtles, providing them with physical exams and antibiotics before they spent time recovering in Galveston with our partners at Texas A&M University at Galveston’s Gulf Center for Sea Turtle Research. The sixth turtle was the first green sea turtle that our vet team treated in 2021; it was brought in with shell fractures from a suspected boat propeller accident.
As a reminder, you can help save sea turtles by reducing your single-use plastics and picking up any trash or debris you see along the beach this Spring Break.
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.
There are five species of sea turtles inhabiting the Gulf of Mexico, all of which are either threatened or endangered. They include the Kemp’s ridley, green, leatherback, Atlantic hawksbill, and loggerhead sea turtles.
Some of the threats sea turtles face in the Gulf are:
- 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. Every time you visit the Zoo, you’re helping us save sea turtles in the wild.