"We sure do find some strange stuff on the beach every now and then, but I can't say I have ever seen dead camels or horses washing up," an Acre fisherman told Haaretz on Monday. His colleagues from Herzliya and Tel Aviv - as well as many unsuspecting bathers - can say exactly that, after several carcasses washed up on beaches in those cities within the space of a few hours. And that may be only the tip of the iceberg.
The arrival of the bodies, for which authorities can offer no definite explanation, began with a horse cadaver on Herzliya's Boats Beach. Passersby called emergency services, after they confused the dead animal for a human body. The paramedics left the scene after establishing that the carrion had washed up after many days at sea.
"We went down to the beach with a resuscitation cart and everything, only to find a bloated, headless dead horse," Ofer Raff from the Magen David Adom emergency services said. "We were just getting ready to leave when we heard the report that another carcass had been found in a location north of us."
As Raff's team was packing up to go, the city's call center received reports of a dead and large animal off Zevulun Beach. Except this time, as city inspectors and police who arrived at the scene quickly ascertained, the cadaver belonged to a camel. The city dispatched a disposal team to clear the carrion, as Glilot District's finest tried to offer educated guesses as to where the dead beasts might have originated.
As it turned out, the next arrival beached at one of Tel Aviv's busiest shores. Passersby admiring the sunset's afterglow at Hilton Beach were horrified to see the waves delivering another putrid dead animal. It turned out to be yet another dead camel, which the city's animal control team hurriedly removed from the scene.
But even as the clean-up team was getting ready to head out, a third dead camel was found on Cliff Beach, in the city's north.
The incident was not without warning, as it turned out. Monday, a man riding a jet ski told Herzliya's beach department that he had seen a number of dead animals floating off the city's shores. The man said the carcasses were rocking their way to shore, and so it is not unreasonable to expect more arrivals in the following days.
The Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) is familiar with dead cattle washing up on Israel's beaches. The organization's explanation may also hold true for the case at hand. The INPA says that bovines who die at sea are thrown overboard from the freighters transporting them.
The INPA adds that more cattle heads are transported for the slaughter during the Muslim month of Ramadan, which could go further to explain the occurrence.
Rami Tzadok, an oceanographer from Tel Aviv University, said he believes the dead animals were being transported to or from Libya or Egypt. "These countries have traders who specialize in horses and camels. By contrast, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey have a sheep and cattle trade."
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