The Kishon River Authority and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority have been working hand-in-hand over the years to maintain the softshell turtle population in Israel, working with the populations in both the Hula Nature Reserve and the Kishon River to support the endangered turtles’ survival.

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21 young softshell turtles were released this week at three different points along the Kishon River in Israel, after hatching at the Hula Nature Reserve. The turtles were released by the Kishon River Authority into areas protected from human disturbance and development in order to increase their chances of survival and in an environment with ideal conditions for growth.

The new turtles will join the population living in the river for almost decade. To date, the Kishon River Authority has released nearly 600 turtles, young and old, into the Kishon where one of Israel’s two main turtle populations exists.  From time-to-time, the turtles are transferred from the Hula to the Kishon to re-establish its natural population.

Close to 600 turtles have been released into the Kishon this year

Close to 600 turtles have been released into the Kishon this year Photo Credit: Olga Vadov, Kishon River Authority/Channel 2 News

The softshell turtle lives in the humid environments of fresh water rivers and riverbeds and have been spotted moving between rivers through the sea. In Israel, adult turtles of this kind were found in the river while their nests were located along the river banks.

“The Kishon River Authority is working in full cooperation with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority in all matters concerning the restoration and rescue of endangered species in Israel,” Director of the Kishon River Authority Sharon Nissim said. “Just recently did Kishon River Authority members rescue an injured softshell female, likely run over by a vehicle in the Haifa Bay area.  The turtle was transferred for treatment and rehabilitation at the National Center for the Rescue of Sea Turtles at Mikhmoret, and with her recovery, was returned to the Kishon. In addition, the Kishon River Authority with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority conducts annual surveys to identify and locate nests and places of fertilization.”