Sea turtle are ancient reptiles, which fossil evidence reveals have existed for over 150 million years. The last 100 years have seen a sharp drop in sea turtle population size. This decline is the result of fishing and damage to beaches and nesting sites. The damage has been so severe that the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has declared all species of sea turtle endangered.
The Israeli Sea Turtle Rescue Center
In 1999, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority established the Israeli Sea Turtle Rescue Center in temporary quarters at the Mevo’ot Yam marine boarding school in Mikhmoret.
The center’s vision:
Treatment, conservation and rehabilitation of sea turtles in the eastern Mediterranean.
Increasing public awareness of the damage to the marine environment in Israel and the importance of conservation and working to correct the situation.
Protection of the marine and coastal environment and the statutory declaration of coastal and marine areas as marine reserves.
Transforming the center into a regional and international center for the treatment, rehabilitation and study of sea turtles.
The center was established as a temporary facility to provide emergency treatment for injured sea turtles, but has grown beyond our expectations over the last years it has been in operation.
The New Sea Turtle Rescue Center, which will be established at Alexander Stream National Park, will make possible better treatment of the sea turtles. The center will encompass an area of approximately 1.5 dunams (about 0.4 acres), approximately 300 meters from the beach, on the banks of the Alexander Stream. The plan for the new center call for 300 square meters of buildings, a treatment compound, treatment pools, two breeding pools with an artificial nesting beach where the turtles can nest naturally, a visitor center and a maintenance compound.