In Israel, mayonnaise proves a miraculous cure for tar-covered turtles

MICHMORET (AP) – When it comes to saving sea turtles, Israeli rescuers have discovered that mayonnaise is a miracle.

Staff at Israel’s National Sea Turtle Rescue Center are handling green sea turtles that are endangered by the devastating oil spill that has covered the coast of Israel with thick black tar.

The spill, which the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority has named as one of the worst ecological disasters in the country, has hit Israel’s 120-mile (195-kilometer) coast of the Mediterranean coast. covered with sticky tar. It has caused extensive damage to wildlife, including sea turtles.

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Guy Ivgy, a medical assistant at the Sea Turtle Rescue Center in Michmoret, north of Tel Aviv, said 11 turtles are being treated there. The center is run by the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority.

A woman keeps a dead sea turtle covered with tar from an oil spill in the Mediterranean; in Gador nature reserve near Hadera, Israel; Saturday, February. 20, 2021. (Photo AP / Ariel Schalit)

“They came to us full of tar. All their trachea inside and out was full of tar, ”he said.

Workers have been removing the toxic material from the reptiles’ airways and have found a creative way to remove it from their digestive tracts.

“We continue to feed products such as mayonnaise, which practically cleanses the system and breaks down the tar,” said Ivgy. The recovery process is expected to take a week or two, after which the turtles are expected to be released back into the country.

Thousands of volunteers and clean-up teams have moved to remove tar from Israeli beaches, an action expected to take months.

People are clearing tar from an oil spill in the Mediterranean Sea, at the Gador nature reserve near Hadera, Israel, on Saturday, February. 20, 2021. (Photo AP / Ariel Schalit)

The Ministry of Environmental Protection says it is investigating the cause of the oil spill.

The incident is believed to have taken place in early February, and Israel said it had not received prior warning before about 1,000 tons of tar began washing ashore. The tar has also spread north and reached Lebanon.

On Monday, an Israeli court banned the disclosure of all details of the investigation, including the name of the vessel suspected of having spilled the oil, its route and call ports. The Israeli journalists association petitioned the court Tuesday to pick up the order.

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