The Amos Rehabilitation Keep (ARK) at The University of Texas Marine Science Institute just received a donation from Friends of the ARK for $40,000. These new funds were primarily collected in response to the cold-stunning sea turtle rescue event and were collected from donors and through the sale of t-shirts. The funding will help the ARK purchase supplies needed to care for cold-stunned sea turtles still in their care and the purchase of supplies to prepare for future cold stun events.
The ARK rehabilitates marine turtles, migratory and marine birds and raptors from the coastal zone of Mustang Island and San Jose Island. The ARK is uniquely positioned to quickly respond during cold stunning events with a large number of facilities at their disposal and experienced staff. During the February freeze, the ARK received 900 live sea turtles that were cold stunned, which means they were suffering from decreased heart rate and circulation, leading to lethargy. This can be followed by shock, pneumonia and sometimes death. As the sea turtles started arriving, the ARK’s sea water tanks were quickly filled to capacity. The overflow went to the Institute’s heated auditorium, where about 700 turtles were treated. To date, 850 sea turtles were released off shore. A pair of vessels donated by Port Aransas Fisherman’s Wharf transported the turtles for release into waters that had warmed to the 55-degree threshold required to prevent a secondary stunning event
The donation received from the Friends of the ARK will go a long way in helping to feed and treat the sea turtles in the ARK’s care and prepare for future rehabilitation needs.