All eyes are on the southern US states, most of all, on Texas. A powerful winter storm has brought everything to a standstill this week, leaving millions without power, and has claimed the lives of at least 21 people in the area. But this dark and frigid time is also a time of bravery and compassion.

Texans are bringing their pets, farm animals, and wild animals inside their homes to protect them from the icy cold and to keep them warm. They're also rushing to save sea turtles. If this isn’t proof that our true humanity shines through in the toughest times, I don’t know what is.

Near Houston, more than a dozen dogs were rescued from the freezing cold, with the remains of at least one found in the snow. Shelters in Austin and the Texas Panhandle pleaded with the public for generators and scrambled to defrost wells. At a primate sanctuary in San Antonio, monkeys, lemurs and at least one chimpanzee froze to death after electricity went out at the 70-acre facility.

“I never, ever thought my office would turn into a morgue, but it has,” Brooke Chavez, the director of Primarily Primates, told the San Antonio Express-News. “We won’t truly know how many animals have died until the temperatures rise and the snow starts to melt.”

The same is true of conditions on South Padre Island, where conservationists told The Post it often takes days for them to determine how many turtles have been able to survive as the reptiles slowly regain warmth.

Sanjuana Zavala, a spokeswoman for Sea Turtle, Inc., said green sea turtles live year-round in the Laguna Madre, a salty lagoon sandwiched between the mainland and barrier islands on Texas’s Gulf Coast.

The turtles, sometimes called the “lawn mowers of the ocean,” thrive off the area’s thick, underwater vegetation and keep the ecosystem balanced. But when water temperatures drop below about 50 degrees Fahrenheit — a rarity in South Padre Island — the chill can cause them to become “cold stunned.”

A turtle’s heart rate lowers, its flippers become paralyzed and its body will float comatose above the water, sometimes washing ashore, Zavala said. This state of hypothermic shock can put them at risk of predators, boats and even drowning.

In a normal year, volunteers with Sea Turtle, Inc. might rescue anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred cold-stunned turtles, warming them inside the group’s rescue center. Yet before the weekend was up, they already appeared to be filling up their own space to the brim.

“We knew this was not a regular cold stun,” she said, “and we knew we had to do something.”

The turtle rescue put out a call for help, and soon, much of the island was involved in an all-hands-on-deck effort to transport turtles to an overflow facility at the South Padre Island Convention Centre, where generators and good insulation could keep the animals warm.


Responses to "Texans are bringing farm and wild animals inside to keep them warm during the cold wave"

  1. Unknown says:

    after owning cattle is it very hard to eat beef, if you have a heart...

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