Lebanese residents were treated to a rare and beautiful spectacle at the end of July. On a beach in the south of the country, an NGO filmed and guarded the hatching of two protected species of baby turtles, while the public observed this episode which is crucial for the protection of small marine reptiles.
What’s more moving than watching hundreds of baby turtles hatch and make their long journey to the sea? In Lebanon on the 29th of July, dozens of holiday-makers had the pleasure of observing the hatching of 200 baby turtles on a beach in the south of the country.
A moving birth
The two reptile species, loggerhead and green sea turtles, rushed towards the Mediterranean sea under the watchful eye of members of the Orange House Project, which seeks to raise awareness of the importance of protecting marine wildlife.
Thanks to this NGO’s operation, men, women and children were able to observe the newly hatched small animals make their way slowly but surely towards the sea, about 10 miles south of the city of Tyre.
Subsequently, this association for the protection of nature shared beautiful images of the event on their Facebook account.
Mona Khalil, the head of the Orange House Project that organised this even in late July, explained:
Awareness must be raised, to preserve the sea and its ecosystem. Many Lebanese do not know that turtles lay eggs and bury them in the sand on beaches.
In Lebanon, several species of turtles are greatly threatened by the excessive development of certain coastlines in order to boost the tourism industry.
A critical situation
Environmental activists regularly sound the alarm about real estate and tourism development projects that pose a serious threat to the breeding of certain sensitive animal species, first and foremost, turtles.
These development projects are forcing many species to leave their traditional breeding grounds to find refuge in safer areas. In 2012, about fifty turtle nests were protected by the Lebanese NGO but despite their efforts, small marine reptile populations continue to decline.
This year, only 23 nests were found and protected. In 2012, a report by the Lebanese Ministry of Public Works and Transport revealed that almost 54 million square feet of coastline had been illegally built.
To compound these issues, in 2017, the dumping of a mountain of garbage at sea near Beirut caused a public outcry, since this act turned out to be an ecological disaster.