This is the Turtle Rescue Center in South Padre.
It was the dream of Ila Loetscher to get every sea turtle off of the endangered species list and WOW - what a legacy this one woman left behind!
This was first on our list of things to see in Padre!
Inside there were huge tanks...
..each holding a turtle who is in rehabilitation...
..usually from an injury resulting in a damaged leg or shell.
This is the one permanent turtle resident. Three times they tried to release him and 3 times he washed back up on shore. Yep - after 15 years of living there, he has still not figured out that he cannot eat the lettuce through the glass!
We were so blessed to be able to witness the release of the baby turtles Thursday morning. Here are the volunteers coming to rope off an area of the beech.
Here come the workers with the newly hatched turtles. Yes - they are inside those coolers.
Look how tiny they are..
.. They hatched the night before and everyone of them survived..
..all 160 of them!
They are ready to get out of there.
The workers carefully place the babies on the beech facing the surf.
At first they are quiet and don't move much..
..but once they relax..
..and start to hear the waves..
their natural instinct kicks in and they take off.This for me was one of those once in a lifetime experiences. Sadly only 1 out of 300 turtles released will make it to breeding age. But, on the up side, one of the workers told us that if the numbers continue to climb as they are the first of several types of endangered Sea Turtles will be off of the endangered list by 2118. It is slow progress...but none the less, it is progress!