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Mediterranean Sea Turtles: A Crisis

Updated: Sep 11, 2019

Sea Turtles have swum in the Mediterranean Ocean for more than 150 million years, but these ancient and gentle creatures are dying out. Their population is in steep drop off. Their decline reflects the larger sickness of the Mediterranean Ocean which is due to needless human pollution and over-fishing. Today all species of sea turtles are considered endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

Last summer, while in Israel with my family, I learned about The Israel Sea Turtle Rescue Center, located on the Mediterranean coast in Mikhmoret, Israel - between Netanya and Hadera. Amazingly, it is the only Mediterranean sea turtle breeding program in the world and part of a global effort to keep the Earth’s sea turtles alive.

The Israel Sea Turtle Rescue Center not only breeds the small number of surviving sea turtles, but they also rescue injured turtles and help nurse them back to health. They are then released back into the Mediterranean. The Center also educates the public on the plight of the sea turtles, focusing particularly on educating kids because, as Yaniv Levy, the Manager of the Center points out, if kids tell their parents not to litter, the parents won’t litter! This is an amazing place doing truly important work.

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