Since 1989, the Texas State Aquarium Wildlife Rescue Center has been providing rehabilitation services for a wide range of injured animals. In a current article on the Texas Tribune website, it is reported that the rescue center is now seeking state assistance for funding a larger, more modern facility.
The new rescue center that the Aquarium is planning to construct is estimated to cost approximately $22 million, and the facility is asking the State to cover slightly more than one-third of that figure.
A not-for-profit organization, the Texas State Aquarium usually receives no government funding, but in 2015, the state gave the aquarium $9 million to fund a special Caribbean-themed exhibit.
The Texas State Aquarium Wildlife Rescue Center is the only facility of its type in Texas, and has been situated in a former warehouse since 1989. Through the years, the facility has been upgraded, but it is still not necessarily structurally capable of making it through a major hurricane.
When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas in 2017, the staff members at the rescue center evacuated more than 100 animals from the facility, and transported them to the central aquarium. The chief operating officer at the aquarium, Jesse Gilbert, said that if the eye wall of the hurricane had come 20 miles closer, the building might not still be there now.
A major rescue operation last year that was orchestrated by the wildlife rescue center involved transporting more than 1,200 turtles to its facility. When the water temperature in the bays around Corpus Christi suddenly plunged, many of the sea turtles there became unable to swim because they were in shock.
The new rescue center that the Texas State Aquarium plans to build will be sturdier than their present quarters, and equipped with modern equipment that will enable the staff to treat more animals.
The Texas State Aquarium Wildlife Rescue Center has treated more than 2,600 animals since 2005. These include sea turtles, dolphins, raptors, manatees and shorebirds.