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More Than 100 Turtles Released on South Padre Island

story and photo by Tony Vindell/LFN

During an operation described by people as “awesome, “fantastic,” and “this is great,” some 120 sea turtles rescued after the brutal cold from of two weeks ago, were released this week into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Volunteers, game wardens with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and workers with Sea Turtle Inc. held each sea critter with both hands and placed them in the water as hundreds of spectators watched the operation many of them had never seen before.

“Awesome!” Bonnie Gastel, who came from Sharyland to witness the event, said as she stood behind a yellow line during Monday’s turtle release. “I just made it for this and it’s quite a show.”

“Great,” exclaimed David Weaver as he watched the volunteers carrying the turtles toward the beach.

“I have never seen anything like it. This is pretty neat.”

The Cincinnati man said he and a group of people are staying at an Island hotel where they were informed about the operation directed by Sea Turtle Inc.

Jeff George, the organization’s executive director, said 120 out of a batch of 310 rescued turtles were released Monday.

“There were more than 2,000 stranded turtles,” he said, “but most of them were rescued in the Corpus Christi area.”

As the operation went on, some of the volunteers walked along the line as close as they could get to the spectators so they could see the turtles up close and personal before releasing them into the water.

Each reptile flapped its flippers as if they were happy or anxious to go back to their habitat.

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