Record Number of Sea Turtles Hatch in Israel, Showing Success of Rescue Efforts

13,000 sea turtle eggs hatched in 2018, breaking a record

One of the turtles released into the ocean off Israel's coast, February 23, 2019.
Manor Guri/Israel Nature and Parks Authority

13,000 sea turtles hatched along Israel's coastline in 2018, making it a record-breaking year for the reptile's reproduction in the country. The Israel Nature and Parks Authority's Sea Turtle Rescue Center, whose employees collect eggs laid on the beach and transfer them to protected sites until hatched, said in its annual review published Sunday that the data suggests its ongoing activity is bearing fruit.

The annual report also shows 275 dead sea turtles were washed up on Israeli shores during the past year. 121 injured turtles were provided with medical attention and 64 released back to their natural habitat. The rescue center said injuries are mainly cause by sea turtle getting entangled in plastic waste and fishing equipment.

>> Watch: Baby sea turtles hatch, take their first steps

On Saturday, INPA employees released two turtles back to the sea in Israel's north, after several months of medical care at the rescue center in Mikhmoret, in central Israel. The two, an adult loggerhead and a baby green sea turtle, were found with multiple injuries resulting from plastic waste and fishing hooks.

The loggerhead, named Elkin, after the fisherman who found it, had a hook removed from its intestines in a special operation performed by veterinarian Dr. Tsachi Eisenberg at the Kol Hai clinic in Rehovot, in central Israel.

The green sea turtle, called Sol, swallowed large amounts of plastic and had a fishing hook stuck in its esophagus, which was removed without an operation. Before its release, an advanced satellite transmitter, which would improve INPA's capabilities in tracking green sea turtles, was attached to its body.