monachus guardian monk seal

Dedicated to Monk Seals and their Threatened Habitats



21 September 2007

Orphaned pup’s welfare monitored daily

Badem, Turkey’s first rehabilitated monk seal pup, has been monitored by SAD-AFAG at her current home on Gökova Bay.

Informing visiting tour boats.

Following her return to the wild on 28 April 2007, she was observed interacting with people in Datça and Gökova [see Turkey, TMG 10(1): 2007]. Afterwards, SAD-AFAG, with the further financial support of Turkish businessman, Mustafa Koç, continued monitoring Badem and, when required, attempted to stop/reduce interactions with the passengers of visiting tour boats. Monitoring is expected to continue until the end of October 2007, when the “blue voyage” season comes to an end.

The monitoring team consists of 2 people, a local SAD-AFAG representative, and a volunteer. SAD-AFAG’s Servet Deniz, the field leader, has been monitoring Badem since mid-June 2007. It should be emphasised that Badem’s existing location is very remote from the nearest coastal settlements; its human population is so small that it cannot be compared to the population and tourism pressures of Datça.

Monitoring Badem.

Every day during the monitoring programme, the team ascertains the location of Badem along the open beach of the area. If any tour boats are in the vicinity, the captain, crew and passengers are warned of Badem’s presence.

Though some have an interest in seeing the seal, most of the people informed do not approach the animal; however, it is clear that this would not necessarily be the case if no information was provided by the monitoring team. To that end, a specially-prepared brochure is distributed among the visitors to this pristine area, which hosts only two tourist facilities.

Badem forages during the night and comes ashore around noon for sleeping until sunset. She does not have any injury nor any sign of malnutrition. Therefore, we believe that she has adapted well to foraging. As we observed during rehab, she is fond of eels; however, this time, instead of eel Anguillia anguillia, she forages on conger and moray eels. Also, contrary to some reports, she never takes dead fish offered by people.

According to local observers, she has been sighted twice in the company of one and two seals.

We expect the winter season to encourage her adaptation to the wild, so that interactions with summer visitors will be avoided next year.

– Harun Güçlüsoy, SAD-AFAG.

SAD-AFAG Badem information brochure.
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© 2007 Harun Güçlüsoy, SAD-AFAG, All Rights Reserved