In Lebanon, a sea turtle was hurled from the sea so beach-goers could snap pictures with it. Footage has surfaced from a Havana Beach South of Beirut as multiple people dragged a female sea turtle out of the sea to beat and stand on her for pictures.
Witnesses report seeing a man pull the turtle out of the sea and throw it onto the shore, where it was beaten and stepped on. Images show pictures of a woman standing her toddler on the back of the turtle’s shell.
Executive director Jason Mier of Animals Lebanon stated that he spoke with a person who saw one of the beach-goers hitting the turtle with a stick. The sea turtle is suffering a cracked skull, and sea water has seeped into her sinus cavities. Without rehabilitation, these injuries would likely be fatal.
GreenArea International, a local non-profit, has witnessed several dead sea turtles in the past month, one of which was just three days ago. Thankfully, the turtle was rescued by the nonprofit and is being rehabilitated by Animals Lebanon.
Animals Lebanon is also working with Lebanon’s Ministry of Agriculture and Civil Defense to ensure that the sea turtle recovers from its injuries.
The actions of the beach-goers are not only immoral and brutish, but indisputably illegal. The loggerhead turtle is an endangered species in Lebanon, which means it’s at a very high risk of extinction in the near future. Its greatest threats to survival are a loss of habitat and less safe, undisturbed places to lay eggs. Pollution, fishing and shrimp trawling have also played a major part in contributing to the sea turtle’s status in Lebanon and internationally.
Sea turtles migrate towards the shore during their nesting season, which ranges from May through October. They will swim across millions of miles to lay eggs where they were born, which may or may not have been this particular turtle’s intentions.
The loggerhead turtle was given antibiotics and will receive further x-rays to ensure that the damage to her skull doesn’t result in permanent injury.