Construction for new sea turtle hospital underway in South Padre Island

7 months 3 weeks 3 days ago Friday, April 07 2023 Apr 7, 2023 April 07, 2023 6:59 PM April 07, 2023 in News - Local

Construction is underway at South Padre Island to build what’s being described as the world’s largest, fully enclosed sea turtle hospital.

Wendy Knight, CEO of Sea Turtle Inc. says the new hospital will double capacity.

It's something Sea Turtle Inc. has wanted to do for a decade, and the February 2021 freeze was a stark example of the need for it when 1,500 cold-stunned turtles washed up along the shore.

RELATED: Hundreds of cold-stunned sea turtles rescued on South Padre Island amid severe winter weather

Sea turtles were unable to move in the water. Sea Turtle Inc. used space that was donated to them to treat 800 of the sea turtles.

“That cold stun and that season taught us that we need to be ready,” Knight said. “With the addition of the new cold stun facility, we can double that number, and have up to 1,600 cold stunned sea turtles right here on our property within Sea Turtle Inc."

RELATED: About 4,300 cold-stunned turtles survived the Texas freeze

Another new addition is a CT scanner to look at tumors and injuries.

Previously, Sea turtle Inc. took the injured animals to a lab in Weslaco for the CT scans.

The 15,000-foot area will include research space into the threats green sea turtles face not just from human activity, but emerging medical issues, and more.

“That will really help us start to solve and proactively attack the problems that are impacting these species,” Knight said.

The goal is to open the new sea turtle hospital by the start of 2024.

In the meantime, the patients are staying in the temporary hospital.

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