SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas – An exciting recovery for endangered wildlife. Seven Atlantic Green Sea turtles released at a public event hosted by Sea Turtle, Inc. in South Padre Island. The turtles are rehabilitation patients taken in for a variety of injuries. From being entangled in fishing lines to bone fractures. Now they’re healthy enough to go back on their own and back into the ocean.
Jeff George, Executive Director – Sea Turtle, Inc., “Atlantic Green Sea turtles are now a threatened species. They’re population is starting to recover, but there are thousands of them in the Laguna Madre. They are threatened so they are still protected under the Endangered Species Act.
While these seven turtles successfully made their way back into the ocean, others have not been so lucky. In 2019, agencies like the U.S. Coast Guard and Sea Turtle, Inc. seeing an increase of illegal fishing activities. In the process capturing turtles, injuring them, and in some cases death.
“Unfortunately, over the Thanksgiving holiday we saw over 100 dead Atlantic Sea turtles. They were obviously the result of illegal fishing activity right along the Mexican border. That’s confirmed by the autopsies to confirm that they drowned in illegal nets.” Says George.
The organization continues to host public events in order to bring awareness to endangered species. To continue collecting injured patients and returning them to their natural habitat.
2019 has been a tough year for turtle conservation. Another species native to South Padre Island, the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, continues to be one of the most endangered sea turtle in the world, with dwindling numbers despite the latest conservation efforts.