Sea Turtles Rescued From Frigid Texas Waters Finally Returning Home

CBS4's Michael George shares the details of the rescue and return.

Video Transcript

- All new at 5:30, thousands of sea turtles that were rescued from the freezing waters of Texas last week are now being returned to the sea. CBS 4's Michael George spoke with the group who led the rescue effort.

MICHAEL GEORGE: Thousands of endangered sea turtles are finally going home, the end result of one of the biggest turtle rescue efforts in history. How do you rescue 5,000 turtles?

WENDY KNIGHT: Lots of community involvement.

MICHAEL GEORGE: Wendy Knight of non-profit Sea Turtle Incorporated helped lead the rescue. The winter storm that hit Texas left thousands of these endangered animals cold-stunned, unable to move because of their cold blooded nature.

WENDY KNIGHT: They're no longer able to swim, so they float to the top of the water. And because they can't draw breath and move their head to draw breath, they'll drown in the water if not rescued.

MICHAEL GEORGE: Despite Texans facing their own struggles due to the storm, volunteers started showing up, carrying 5,300 turtles to safety.

WENDY KNIGHT: We were just overwhelmed with the outpouring of the community while they had no power, no water.

MICHAEL GEORGE: And when they ran out of space, the South Padre Island Convention Center helped house thousands more. So far, 2,200 turtles have recovered and been safely released. A community helping save animals that are unable to help themselves. Michael George, CBS News, New York.

- The remaining 3,000 turtles need additional care. Sea Turtle Inc says it no longer needs volunteers or space, but they and other endangered species rescue organizations, including Texas Sea Life Center, always need to donations.