In spite of the weather Thursday, there was a damn big crowd on the beach for a weekday afternoon. They were forecasting rain in the morning and scattered showers in the afternoon. I took a chance and drove up there anyway. Must’ve been a common thought. 😉
Can you see a turtle there? Neither can I. But it was there, behind all those people tracking it down the beach.
The Houston Zoo was going to release a total of 9 rehabilitated sea turtles they had been caring for. Some were Kemp’s Ridleys, 3 were loggerheads. All had been brought to the zoo due to some kind of injury.
It started spitting rain on me less than 10 minutes after I left the house, but since Stewart Beach in Galveston is over an hours drive from my house, I figured I might as well continue.
I made it to the beach and found the location for where they were going to release the sea turtles just in time for the start. Or what was supposed to be the start of the ‘show‘. No turtles, but the rain sure did start.
Surprisingly, hundreds of people still hung out (in the rain) for at least a half hour before the turtle delivery trucks showed up. The turtles were happily riding along in big plastic tanks full of sea water. It was another 15-20 minutes before the 1st turtle made it’s appearance.
Volunteers from the Houston Zoo, NOAA, and the Turtle Patrol were on hand to walk the turtle down the gauntlet of curious bystanders and explain a bit about them. Information sheets, pamphlets and stickers were passed out to the crowd too. Hopefully, this will help people know what to do if they happen to find a turtle or nest. So far this year, they’ve found a total of 159 nests on Texas beaches. They’ve even found 3 right here- 2 at Surfside beach and 1 at Quintana beach. 🙂
It was frustrating to follow the rules and stand behind the fences, waiting for the volunteers to come close enough where we could actually see a turtle through the crowds surrounding them. People were reaching up, out and over- trying to get a good shot. Many people were just allowed to ignore the barricades and follow the turtles from the truck all the way down to the water. Nice for them, but it ruined it for the rest of us. 🙁
Like the lady beside me yelled, “I didn’t come all the way from Indiana just to see your ass!”. So right!
I managed to get a few good shots, The zoo will be putting video and photos on their website too and I expect it even made the news Thursday night. Sorry, but I was just too tired the last couple of days to post this in time for you to turn on the news.
It was really awesome to be able to see this release in person. Happy it was daytime so I could get some decent pictures. I still hope to see a wild one someday. Without the crowds. If you see one, don’t bother it. All of them are endangered. “If you see a sea turtle, tracks or hatchlings on the beach immediately call 1-866-TURTLE-5 (1-866-877-8535)”.