My friend David Goldberger sent me this image of an sea turtle that was washed ashore Monday on the Netnaya beach, just south of the Carmel Hotel.
Is the water polluted? he wanted to know. Does this pose dangers we are unaware of?
According to Yaniv Levy, manager of the Israeli Sea Turtle Rescue Center at Michmoret, a few miles north of Netanya on the Mediterranean coast, some 2,000 to 3,000 turtles used to nest along Israel’s shores at the turn of the 20th century. Now the numbers are down to about 180 loggerheads and fewer than 20 green turtles, and he estimates that only 10 green females in Israel are capable of egg laying.
According to Levy, the turtles face many dangers: pollution, plastic bags and other litter; outboard motors and fishing nets; jeeps hurtling along beaches. About 50 injured turtles are brought to the Rescue Center every year, most of them victims of human activity.
“We treat injured turtles and return them to the sea, gather and incubate eggs before returning the hatchlings to the beaches, raise public awareness of the issue and help preserve the coastline and establish coastal nature reserves,” Levy says.