Sea turtles can grow to five hundred pounds and range widely over the world’s oceans.
They mysteriously return to lay eggs on the same beach where they were born and man has been one of their biggest enemies since their meat is tasty, their shells can be fashioned into ornaments, their body parts dried and ground into Oriental medicine.
A sea turtle rescue center operates on South Padre Island’s Gulf Shores Drive. Volunteers staff it, donations keep it alive, and injured or sick turtles inhabit a series of lined swimming pool tanks inside the rehabilitation center.
Some turtles have been victims of boat propellers, some were injured in fishing nets, some lost a limb to sharks. Life as a turtle has dangers but when the turtles are recovered from their setbacks, they are released back into the Gulf, tagged, monitored, and celebrated.
Allison is a current resident turtle with a prothesis. Losing her tail, she has been fitted with a new rubber one that lets her glide in her small tank like a Gulf War veteran with new robotic legs. Victims of carelessness, malice, chance, turtles are easy to love and people support the turtle cause by buying turtle memorabilia in the gift shop.
Man too has his own tragedies to overcome.
Our safety tanks take the form of halfway houses, hospitals, psych wards, jails, and churches.
There are plenty of days we aren’t ready to be released into the world again, either.