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Large marine reptiles apparently damaged by explosions during an Italian seismic study to find oil and gas.
The Israel Sea Turtle Rescue Center came into action recently after dozens of turtles were found injured on the country’s beaches after a stormy weather.
In the space of only three days, 46 sea turtles were found, compared to an annual average of 250, according to Hadashot TV on Monday .
As the scale of the incident became evident, the center summoned dozens of volunteers to help comb the coast and find the creatures, many of whom suffered damage to the lungs and stomach cavity.
The volunteers were needed for more than locating the injured turtles. They also had to help transport the animals, which can weigh up to 200 kilograms each, in rescue vehicles for transport back to the center, which is operated by the Israel Parks and Nature Authority.
The center’s director, Yaniv Levy, told Hadashot that some of the turtles had fluid, including blood, in their lungs.
At the center, the marine veterinarians set up an impromptu hospital, where they treated the turtles, using X-rays and CT scans to reveal the extent of their injuries, and performed surgery when necessary.
Despite the efforts, the team could only save 15 of the turtles, which will now face a rehabilitation period of six months to a year.
But his prognosis was good. “I’m pretty sure we can return them [to the sea],” Levy said.
There remained the mystery of what caused such severe damage to so many turtles. An investigation by the Israel Parks and Nature Authority traced the possible culprit: an Italian marine seismic survey conducted last week in hopes of discovering offshore oil and natural gas reserves .
During a 24-hour period, about 20 explosions were started every nine seconds when the researchers mapped the ocean floor, according to the report.
The loggerhead sea turtle and green sea turtles populate the Mediterranean Sea. Each of the two species lays its eggs along the coast of Israel.
In addition to the problem of garbage that threatens the habitat of sea turtles, the development along the coast has also put the population at risk, according to the Marine Turtle Rescue Center of Israel.
Source: Israe lnoticias