monachus guardian monk seal

Dedicated to Monk Seals and their Threatened Habitats



Mediterranean Seal Pup “Badem”

By Cem Orkun KIRAÇ and Harun GÜÇLÜSOY

On 5th of December, SAD-AFAG received an emergency call through its Monk Seal Rescue and Information Network (AFBIKA) about an abandoned monk seal pup at Didim (between Kusadasi and Gulluk on Turkey’s Aegean coast). This information was received from the official member of AFB IKA, the Turkish Coast Guard Command.

The first-aid team, comprising Harun Güçlüsoy  and Ayhan Tonguç of SAD-AFAG, and Avni Gök, Veterinarian of the Foça Municipality, reached the site within 5 hours, arriving at 17:30 hrs. The team found the pup stranded on the beach, where she had been under observation for almost 12 hours by the locals who reported the incident to the Coast Guard. She was estimated as being 5 to 6 weeks old and was very exhausted. Her abdomen showed early signs of emaciation, while her sunken eyes and wrinkled whiskers indicated dehydration; she had probably not eaten for 5-7 days.

After the examination on site and evaluating the situation (e.g. local logistics), also having taken into consideration the negative status of the pup, it was decided to transport “Badem” (“Almond” in English) to Foça where the most favourable conditions could be provided. Moreover, the locality where the pup was found is not one of the habitats of the species. The pup was subsequently transported from Didim to Foça without incident. Meanwhile, the SRRC, with whom SAD-AFAG previously agreed a protocol governing such stranding incidents, was informed.

Around 23:00 hrs, Badem was placed in her temporary quarantine in the Sun Sail Club Phokaia in Foça. The place had already been disinfected. This was an important rescue operation, because SAD-AFAG, which has long been working for the conservation of the monk seals in Turkey, will for the first time undertake the rehabilitation of an orphaned monk seal. If successful, “Badem” will be released back into her own habitat.

Prior to the arrival of Richard Dijkema of SRRC, she was given (at 4 hr intervals) 5 times ORS (oral rehydration salts) in water. Richard continued this on two more occasions, then started the pup on fish (bonito) porridge 6 times a day. The fish is cleaned of all its bones and skin in order to avoid any digestion complications. To date, she did not have any difficulty in digestion and she is quite alert and healthy.

Along with the arrival of Badem in Foça, concrete steps for the establishment of a Rehabilitation Unit in the town was taken by the Municipality of Foça. This has already been on the agenda of both the municipality and SAD-AFAG for some time. Currently, the unit has already been finished and equipment, such as washing machine and freezer, purchased. Another important development was the adoption of Badem by Mustafa Koç, a leading businessman in the country.

For Turkish Diary of Badem:
Soon there will be the English version too.


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