It took more than 31⁄2 years of innovative treatment to rehabilitate Frankie the sea turtle before this loggerhead terrapin could be released back to the wild. And though there were doubts whether Frankie — who arrived at the Israeli Sea Turtle Rescue Center in 2009 with a fractured skull and broken jaw — could ever swim free again, volunteers and staff recently celebrated her return to the Mediterranean Sea.
Frankie was the worst-case scenario to ever arrive at the center. After being run over by a boat, the enormous turtle was expected to die.
“She’s a miracle,” said Yaniv Levy, manager of the rescue center in Mikhmoret.
The only turtle rehabilitation center in the Middle East, it nurses some 50 injured turtles back to health every year. Staff there also gather and incubate eggs and return the hatchlings to the beaches, raise public awareness on the plight of the turtles, and help preserve the coastline.
In effect, the center helps save the Mediterranean sea turtle population from extinction.
Frankie arrived at the center in 2009, weighing 48 pounds. She was released from Gador Beach into the Mediterranean Sea at a robust 125 pounds. — israel21c