Sea turtle is pulled from the water so beachgoers can take selfies
A sunny day at the beach turned to fear for this sea turtle, which was apparently pulled from his home under the waves by beachgoers looking for a photo op.
"Some were lifting it as if they were lifting weights, and then throwing it harshly in the sea, and others were jumping on it just to take pictures with it," said Jason Mier, executive director for Animals Lebanon, which has since been caring for the turtle.
Green Area International, a humanitarian group, said it obtained photos from the incident on the Lebanese beach, which appear to confirm the harrowing reports.
The photos show the turtle being thrown to the shore and having a crying child placed on its back.
The turtle was also reportedly beaten with a stick on the head, which caused him significant injury, according to his caretakers.
After the turtle was escorted to safety by another onlooker, a number of animal rescue groups stepped in to take action,
Animals Lebanon took in the turtle and gave him his own pool to allow him recover from his injuries.
"The wounds on his head are evident," Mier told InsideEdition.com. "When applying a small amount of pressure, water that has entered these wounds seeps out."
He added that the turtle "is unable to eat but will chew and swallow when food is placed in his mouth."
Mier said veterinarians have confirmed that the wound likely came from the beach incident, although there was a possibility that it might have been from an earlier injury.
He said that antibiotics are being administered to the turtle daily to help him heal before he is released back into the wild.
Although incidents with turtles may not be as common in Lebanon, clashes with wildlife have occurred before, according to rescuers.
"We have seen a similar incident around a month ago, but unfortunately, the sea turtle could not be saved," Zeina Nassar from Green Area told InsideEdition.com. "These incidents threatening sea turtles do not occur so often in Lebanon. However, we have highlighted issues of storks being killed just for the sake of taking photographs with them."
Despite past troubles, rescuers are optimistic the turtle will be able to return to the sea, and are thankful that they were able to share his story.
"We are glad that highlighting this issue has raised more awareness on the importance of marine organisms," Mier said. "The articles on the endangered sea turtle that went viral and were being shared on many local and international media outlets, met our goal, saving the environment and saving endangered animals."