I love sea turtles! It started on a visit to Hawaii when I met one of these beautiful creatures face to face while snorkeling. It was love at first sight!
So of course, I had to visit Sea Turtle, Inc. on our recent visit to South Padre Island. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was worth the $10 fee to see what there was to see.
Sea Turtle Inc. was founded in 1977 by Ila Loetscher as a nonprofit entity, funded entirely by private donations and gift shop sales. The mission of the organization is three-fold:
- To rehabilitate injured sea turtles for return to the wild
- Educate the public about endangered sea turltes and their marine environment
- Assist with conservation programs to help their populations to recover
Ms. Loetscher soon became known around the world as “The Turtle Lady of South Padre Island”. Throughout the 1980’s she made appearances on David Letterman, Tonight Show, Today Show and even National Geographic Magazine!
The facility has been recently expanded and renovations are still underway. It was a beautiful center, and full of turtle stories. There were areas of education, rehabilitation, and even a hospital! They treat over 100 sea turtles each year for various issues, including but not limited to fibropapillomatosis (FP), entanglement, hook ingestion, boat strikes, impactions, predator attacks, and mass cold stranding events. Clearly, they are treated with the best possible turtle care 🥰
I will share two of my favorite turtle stories.
Allison weighs 140 pounds and her favorite food is lettuce! She was found stranded on the beach in 2005 and was missing three out of four flippers due to a predator attack. Although she was unlikely to survive, after receiving the first successful prosthetic device on a sea turtle, Allison is here today to greet visitors! What a sweet story ❤️
Now let me introduce Cowgirl. She is also the featured image at the top of this post,
Cowgirl weighs 9.9 pounds, and her favorite food is mackerel. You can read her story below and see that she had been rescued four times!
Wow, check out the size of the sea turtles!⬇️
So, if you ever get the chance to visit South Padre Island, make sure to include a visit to Sea Turtle, Inc! Say “hello” to Allison and Cowgirl for me while you are there!