(UPI) — Workers of Israel’s Sea Turtle Rescue Center have rushed to save dozens of injured sea turtles that have washed up along the country’s coast.
Over the past few weeks, some 50 sea turtles have been discovered along the nation’s Mediterranean shore suffering from cracked shells and cuts as well as soft tissue damage and internal injuries, the Times of Israel reported.
Once the magnitude of the situation was known, volunteers were enlisted to scourer the beaches and help lift the marine animals, which can weigh up to 200 kilograms each, onto transport trucks.
Of all the turtles so far discovered, the center was only able to save 15.
More than 20 were discovered dead on the beach, ABC 17 reported, adding that it is not uncommon to find injured sea turtles along the coast of Israel; what is uncommon are the types of injuries they suffer from.
“They all suffered from soft tissue trauma that’s coming from some kind of shockwave that could happen for seismic surveys or explosives under water,” a Sea Turtle Rescue Center employee said.
Though a mystery at first, an investigation by the country’s Nature and Parks Authority, which operates the center, identified a recent Italian marine seismic survey looking for offshore oil deposits is the most probable cause, the Times of Israel reported.
The center, which has been transformed into an emergency hospital to deal with the situation, is at beyond capacity but they will continue to find room if more injured turtles are discovered, ABC 17 reported.
The surviving turtles are now undergoing rehabilitation and, if healthy, will be returned to the ocean in six months.