MIKHMORET – On a Mediterranean beach in central Israel, a newly-hatched baby turtle fumbles along the sand, making its way to the sea for the very first time.

The hatchling, one of 60 to be released into the wild this week, is part of a unique conservation program run by the Israeli Sea Turtle Rescue Center.

The center is based at Moshav Mikhmoret, some 35km north of Tel Aviv.

Green turtles are endangered worldwide, the World Wildlife Fund says.

Among other hazards, they are threatened by hunting, human encroachment on the beaches where they nest, and pollution of their feeding grounds offshore.

According to the rescue center, only about 20 female green turtles nest along Israel’s Mediterranean coast during a breeding season that usually lasts from May until August.

To help the turtle population, nature authorities have declared some beaches nature reserves and with the rescue centre have been relocating threatened turtle nests to safe hatcheries since the 1980s.

In 2002, the rescue center went a step further and began recruiting turtles for a special breeding stock that would one day help populate the sea with their offspring, in one of the world’s only such conservation programs.

The mating squad began to reach sexual maturity a few years ago and this year managed to breed, said the center’s manager, Yaniv Levi.

About 200 baby turtles are expected to hatch by the end of the breeding season.

“We’re only at the beginning, it’s the first year, and we expect that in the coming years we will be able to spawn 1,000 hatchlings a year,” Levi said.

Roderic Mast, the president of the Oceanic Society and co-chair of the IUCN-SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group, said that releasing the hatchlings to the sea immediately was critical to their chances of survival.

“In terms of conservation, nothing is more important than protection of turtles and their habitats and behaviours in the wild,” Mast said in an email interview.

Source: Ynet

Related Articles:

Finland bans largest neo-Nazi group in the country

Finland’s Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled a neo-Nazi organization illegal, saying it did not qualify for protection under freedom of speech or assembly as its activities...

Romania: Holocaust memorial smashed by unknown vandals

Târgu Mureş - Unknown vandals smashed the pedestal of the Târgu Mureş Holocaust Memorial last week. Zoltán Soós, the candidate for mayor, drew attention to the news in a...

President Trump tells UN: “We intend to deliver more peace agreements shortly”

President Donald Trump used his speech at the United Nations General Assembly to speak of his successes in bringing about peace deals in the Middle East as well as stating...

Israeli Air Force makes history: First female F-35 pilot

Twenty years after the first woman took to the skies as Israel’s first combat pilot, the Israel Air Force has made history with its first female F-35 pilot. Cpt. S. flew...

Hezbollah has explosives stored across Europe, says US official

Hezbollah has smuggled explosives, including ammonium nitrate, to Europe where it has a network of stores, a senior US State Department official disclosed on Thursday...

Subscribe to start receiving FREE TORCH magazines from CUFI UK