Seal Rescue and Rehabilitation Activities

Dead, diseased, injured and orphaned Mediterranean monk seals have been watched closely since 1992.
SAD-AFAG  gives the support of necropsy to the dead seals in Foça or in the whereabouts with the competent group. For the injured, diseased  and orphaned seals, it gives care service either in -situ or in the Foça Seal Rehabilitation Center.

Therefore; the studies underatken by SAD-AFAG can be grouped under two categories:
1- Seals stranded dead or died just after emergency response (for sick, ailing or orphaned seals).
2- Rescued and rehabilitated seals.

2- Rescued and Rehabilitated Seals :

Since its foundation, AFAG has managed emergency aid and also managed to save  for seven Mediterranean monk seal individuals and released them back to nature successfully.

  • Yeşim  young female seal. Found in sick and ailing condition. In-situ care & treatment made and released back to sea: Aliağa, İzmir in 2004
  • Badem  pup female seal. Found in Didim, Aydın. Cared in Foça, İzmir.  Reintroduced in Datça, Muğla. 2007
  • Dilara and Tina. Female pups who were found orphaned. After rescue, rehabilitated the pups ex-situ in Foça Monk Seal Rehab Center. 2010
  • Uzay. Pup monk seal found in an open beach in Aydincik. Observed, cared and treated in the site and let him back to its breeding habitat. Mother and pup met in the next day. 2011
  • Alanya. Adult female who was found sick an an ailing condition. Rescued and rehabilitated sick seal and released back to nature in Alanya, Antalya. 2013.
  • Mira. 1-5 days old pup monk seal. Found in open beach in Özdemir, İzmir and after initial care, released back to its breeding habitat nearby. Pup was met with the mother in a short period of time. 2013.

On 22 April 2004  a seal whose mobility was limited found in Çandarlı Bay. The seal was very weak, and unable to dive, she hardly act floating on the sea surface and she was finally stranded ashore. The seal was brought to the coast in order to prevent her loss of body heat and  she was supervised to make her have a rest by SAD-AFAG Foça Project Office members Yalçın, Harun and Ayhan together with Foça Municipality Vet. Avni Gök.

It was ascertained according to the observations made by the SAD-AFAG Foça team Yalçın and Harun and from Foça Municipality vet Avni Gök that the seal was a young female; in her eyes, nose and mouth there was some irritation and also there was pitch on her skin. According to the research and information findings; she was assumed that the seal passed into an irritating thing in the sea so that the irritation came into being in her soft tissues such as her mouth, nose and eyes. Probably the same irritation was seen along with her digestive system. As the blood- letting did not occur, bacteriologic analysis wasn’t done. On the other hand; as there was no increase in body temperature, it was supposed that there wasn’t any infection. With the energy that sprang from resting in the coast, the seal was hardly controlled as she was looking forward to returning to the sea.  Finally, in accordance with the competent vets’ decision from the Netherlands (SRRC) and Greece, the seal was injected antibiotics and eye cream as a cure. After the treatment the seal returned to the sea.On 23 April, during the research, no afore-mentioned seal was come across with. It was surmised that the seal died and went into the bottom of the sea or due to the healing she changed her place

Initial warning, first medical response, her rescue and rehabilitation and reintroduction all were successfully completed with the support of  the institutions, organizations and the persons below :

Coast Guard Command
Mustafa KOÇ and his family  / businessman
Gökhan DEMİRAĞ /Foça Mayor
Lenie’t HART /  Seal Rescue and Rehabilitation Center (SRRC- The Netherlands)
SunSail Club Phokaia
Didim Municipality

On 05 December 2006,  early in the morning  Ahmet Çelik from the Mavişehir district in Didim, saw a seal swimming at the coast. After an hour, the seal got out of  the sea and came to the beach. Although she was sent to the sea several times, the seal insistently returned back to the land. Ahmet Çelik immediately called Coast Guard Command and inquired help.

Coast Guard Command -the member of AFBIKA (Mediterranean Monk Seal Information and Rescue Network) managed by SAD-AFAG and Dokuz Eylül University Institute of Marine Sciences (DEU-DBTE) transferred this info to Yalçın Savaş and Cem Kıraç from SAD-AFAG via AFBIKA hot line.

Then, this information was forwarded to Didim Municipality, mayor and the vet. explaining what to do.   Just after informed by Coast Guard  Command,  SAD-AFAG got into contact with  Didim Municipality vet and he learned that the doctor was with the seal, that it was a pup and that although the seal was released to the sea many times, she returned to the land at every time.  Yalçın Savaş warned the people not to touch the pup and to keep away from her until SAD team arrived. Moreover, he wanted the seal to be supervised in terms of the existence of an adult seal and warned the people who were around the seal against the danger of the mother seal’s arrival for her child.

The AFBIKA team consisting of Dr. Harun Güçlüsoy (SAD-AFAG and DEU-DBTE), Vet Avni GÖK (Foça Municipality), Ayhan Tonguç (SAD-AFAG) completed their preparation in case of the worst probable circumstance,  and reached the pup in Didim Mavişehir  at 17:30.

Biologist Harun Güçlüsoy and vet Avni Gök are the two experienced experts in their fields and they received training from the Europe’s most competent hospital The Netherlands  Seal Hospital in Netherlands SRRC in 2004; they also took part in the study managed by Greece about the rehabilitation of the problematic seals and their caring. In the pre-research of the seal  made by Harun and  Avni; it was conceived that  the pup was approximately 1.5 months, 10 kg thinner than the normal one, sufferred from  overly dehydration and she didn’t forage for  5-7 days. As a result of the research, they provided the first living support for her.

Known that it was impossible for the pup at such this age to be foraged in the nature without breastmilk, it was supposed that the pup was away from her mother because she didn’t foraged for 5-7 days.

In the town, an adult seal was observed for appoximately 12 hours and the result was:

– the town wasn’t primary habitat of Mediterranean monk seal,

– There wasn’t any breeding cave in the town and the nearest known breeding cave is in Greek islands.

– A pup of this age couldn’t leave its birth cave for 2-3 miles.

It was decided that the pup should be rehabilitated and and then released after she was cared.

On the call contact with SRRC and discussion of the experts in Holland and their accord of viewpoints; due to the logistical and supply facilities and existing arrangements, the seal was decided to be transported to Foça.

The pup was transported to a place prepared by the Club Hotel Phokaia in Foça at the same night. In that place, the first life support was continued by Dr. Güçlüsoy and vet Gök .

You can follow the rest of the story of Badem from the “BADEM’S DIARY” page.

Pray for her because if we make her live, she will contribute to her endangering species continue forever with her childs.

Badem’s rescue, rehabilitation, coordination with the organizations and release of the natural habitat are managed by the team below:

Avni Gök, Vet/ Foça Municipality: He set out the adventure with Harun and he never left Badem alone from the beginning. He helped Badem to be transported to Foça. Moreover, in charge of Foça Municipality, he participated in our organization and he made his best to help us and Badem. He examined Badem and to prevent her loss of water, he applied an emergency aid for every four hour with Harun. During the caring process, he discovered that it was easier to apply catheter to Badem without bothering her. He took part in the whole caring process of Badem and her integration with the nature. He always helped us to watch Badem in nature and when necessary he made medical attention, he observed her in situ in Gökova a few times and made the vet evaluation. Avni participated in the activities to monitor Badem in situ before and after the release so he went Gökova and Datça several times.

Ayhan Tonguç / SAD-AFAG: In this operation he helped us with logistic and technical support, too. He was responsible for Badem’s fish. He did his duty successfully and he never let Badem go hungry. He bought eel, octopus, grey mullet and all other food for Badem. Ayhan participated in the activities to monitor Badem in situ before and after the release so he went Gökova and Datça several times. He travelled lot during activities of SAD AFAG to save and monitor Badem in and around Gökova.

Dr. Harun Güçlüsoy, Biologist/SAD-AFAG: He went to Didim beach with Vet Avni Gök when Badem first found, after he made his first observation about the young seal, he gave support to Badem’s transportation to Foça, and also he arranged a place for her. During Badem’s rehabilitation, Avni and Harun executed all the quarantina and other sanitory rules seriously.  He applied a diet necessary for Badem’s development with Richard Dijkema from SRRC and observed her regularly to see her development. He informed Foça Mayor and Foça Sub-Governor regularly about Badem’s development. He helped Ayhan to supply fish and octopus for Badem. Moreover; after the rehabilitation was completed, he took part in the feasibility studies of Badem’s integration of the nature with Cem. Harun continued the meticulous studies about watching of Badem in situ after the integration into the nature. Harun participated in the activities to monitor Badem in situ before and after the release so he went Gökova and Datça several times.

Muzaffer Ağluç, Map and Cadastre Engineer, Ground Planner, Foça Mayoralty: He was responsible for the construction of Seal Rehabilitation Facility with all his heart and with the charging of Mayor Gökhan Demirağ.  We thanked him all because he completed the construction of the pool -that Badem most liked- in due time and made Badem be treated in the hygienic conditions.

Richard Dijkema, Head of Seal Treatment Center / SRRC:  As a result of call contacts with the world-famous SRRC (Seal Rescue Rehabilitation Center) in Holland, it was decided that the seal was to be rehabilitated. After communicating with the head of SRRC Head Lenie’t Hart, it was determined that a rehabilitation expert would come toTurkey according to the frame protocol of 2005.  Richard Dijkema arrived in Foça and examined Badem. Badem hadn’t been feeding for a long time and as Badem’s first diet he prepared a special food. They parted the skins and the fishbones of the fish brought specially from İstanbul, then they cut it into pieces and put antibiotics and vitamin in it. Finally, they fed Badem with the help of a hose. Dijkema, Güçlüsoy and Gök all helped the caring of Badem.

Zafer Kızılkaya / SAD-AFAG: Caring team assistant in this rehabilitation operation. He helped to organize relations with media. He also helped Avni and Richard in the feeding activity of Badem day and night. Introduced Badem to media and the public with best photos of Badem taken by himself.  He took part in the feasibility study of finding suiatble location before release of Badem back to sea.  Participated in all the activities both during release and post release stage. Zafer participated in the activities to monitor Badem in situ before and after the release so he went Gökova and Datça several times.

Yalçın Savaş / SAD-AFAG:  From Ankara, Yalçın Savaş got into contact with Cem and as soon as he got information that Badem was found; he communicated with Didim Municipality authorities and the local people. He wanted the people around the seal not to touch her and to keep away of the seal until SAD team arrived. He warned the people against the danger of a probable existence of an adult mother seal and she might come to take her pup any time. Moreover; he took photos of Badem in the Sunsail Club in the transitory caring unit.  He participated in the feasiblity studies in finding a place before sending Badem her habitat.

Cem Orkun Kıraç / SAD-AFAG: He has undertaken the responsibility of coordination since Badem was found in the coast. Cem Kıraç informed Environment Ministry, Directorate of Nature Protection and National Parks, Muğla and İzmir Governorship, Foça Municipality, Harun Güçlüsoy and Vet Avni Gök. Moreover, he contacted with Holland SRRC during the initial stages. He provided the continuous coordination of the rehabilitation. Furthermore, at the end of the rehabilitation, he took part in the selection of a suitable place for re-introduction. He had the duty of planning and coordinating with Coast Guard Command for reintroduction. Cem participated in the activities to monitor Badem in situ before and after the release so he went Gökova and Datça several times.

1st. WEEK:


On 5 December night, after the first emergency aid and the proper caring was applied, Badem was definitely decided that she was orphaned and she was brought immediately to Foça by Vet Avni Gök (Foça Municipality), Harun Güçlüsoy and Ayhan Tonguç (SAD-AFAG) at the end of the evaluation results taken by organization center. The pup was immediately taken to the Club Phokaia and to prevent dehydration, the first aid was continued every 4 hours during the night. It was decided by Avni Gök that there was no need for the emergency aid and until the expert from SRRC came, she was treated as the afore-mentioned method. Fish was supplied from Foça and they were put in the deep-freezer. Fish was ordered from İstanbul.The sort of the fish and the fat rates have the crucial importance in terms of the pup’s diet.


During the day, to prevent dehydration the first aid was continued in every 4 hour. The fish ordered from İstanbul arrived in Foça. In the evening, Richard Dijkema sent from SRRC arrived in Foça and he immediately examined Badem.

Badem’s first food was prepared by using frozen and free of ice fish with vitamins andantibiotics. With the help of a hose the food was sent her stomach. There was vitality in Badem’s overall position. She started to act and her eyes were looking lively now.

The fish that were used for the pup’s diet must be kept in the fridge to be free of ice before eaten so as to prevent any contagion.  Any milk supplied from human affects their digestive system badly. It was a necessity to feed the seals (pups) forcibly in this way.  The pup would be fed forcibly until it had the ability to eat the whole fish. If she didin’t eat the fish voluntarily, she would be continued to eat forcibly. The very first weeks are the most critical period for the pups under rehabilitation and digestive problems were always faced with.


Badem was fed 5 times in 24 hours.  It was reinforced with vitamins and minerals. The food was calculated according to her body weight.  Badem was 22.5 kilograms. It was supposed to be 1.5 months. Normally such a seal of her age should be 10-13 kilograms heavier than it.  From now on, Badem didn’t suffer from dehydration and her gums, eyes, and whiskers seemed more healthily. Her actions were more mobile and vital.


Today was Badem’s bath day! It was decided that Badem could have a bath because she was high state of health.  It was continued to be fed 5 times a day. Moreover, it was controlled at 4:00 again. Construction of the Seal Rehabilitation Unit was started by Foça Municipality. The construction was planned to be finished in 7-10 days and then Badem was sent to this unit. In the plan of the unit, the experts of SRRC’s (Holland) and MOM (Greece) helped us.


Badem’s overall health was gradually getting beter. The diet and control program continued in the same routine. In her stools there was parasite and for the treatment it was given medicine. It is normal to see parasite in weak pup’s stools and also in adults’ digestive system.  There were visitors of Badem today. Although she was orphaned in her very first of her life and her life was under a risk, Badem was acting a role to make people aware of her species.


Today Badem didn’t defacate. Although digestive stability is often seen in this kind of rehabilitations, it is still alarming. She was weighed for the second time and there weren’t any loss; she was stil 22.5 kilograms.  At first times it was normal to lose about 0.5 kg. Badem’s remaining in the same weight was satifactory. She would be weighted in every 3 days. Badem, Please endure!


Did an animal’s defecation make a person so happy?  Badem didn’t defacate yesterday and today we found her in a room smelling in clouds of stools and we rejoiced as it was the indication that her digestive system were working properly. Badem defecated 3 times during the day till 24:00. The routine diet was still continueing as at the beginning.

2nd. week:


Today, fish was again supplied for Badem. The food that was sufficient for 1 month was ready in the deep- freezer. Her overall condition was gradually getting better. She slept comfortably between the meal hours and she awoke half an hour before the meal hour. It showed that she was full and was carefree. The construction of the caring unit was continuing to be built.


There was no important change in Badem’s health. There were no problems now. She reached to 23 kg today. The time between the meals was the same but the amount of the fish used in preparing the food was increased. The other change was about her food: at the beginning, fish bones and fish skins were picked out, but from now on; firstly, only the fishbones would be picked out and the skin would be added to the food. Then the fishbones wouldn’t be picked out. The construction of caring unit was being built quickly.  The pool was about to be completed.


The rehabilitation of Badem was continueing without a problem. She started to gain weight and she got over the first week. The probability of survival and integration with the nature was higher now.


Badem was getting better. Her reactions were vital and healthy. The amount of the fish she ate was increased.  Firstly, she was fed fish loin. She was trying to suck. To meet her necessity to play, a paddling wrapped in a cloth was put near her. The construction of caring unit was continueing to be built. The link between the sea and the pool was nearly completed. The iron construction of the building was painted with anti-rust.


Badem’s diet was decreased to 4. In addition to the food, loin fish was being continued to be given. The total amount of the fish didn’t change.

3rd. WEEK


There were visitors of Badem today: Environment and Forestry Ministry/ from the Conserved Species Unit, Dear Fehmi Şahin (departmental chief),  Dear Adem Ağar (engineer) and From the İzmir District Directorate Dear Osman Avcı (Protection of Nature and Directorate of National Parks). Under the head of this group, they controlled the rehabilitation studies and the Caring Unit construction. From now on, Badem began to swim. According to the frame of the caring principles, they helped herswim 15- 20 minutes every day. When the caring unit was completed, she would have a pool  until she would integrate in nature again.


The caring unit construction was quickened. They tried to complete the building quickly. Her food and daily swimming programs were contunuing in the same routine.


Now, Badem only ate fish loin every day. The amount of the fish was increased to the maximum level.


In the swimming training course of Badem, live octopus and fish were put in the pool for  the first time.  When Badem firstly entered the pool, she behaved indifferently and idly but then she realized that there were live grey mullets. She suddenly remebered her hunting drives came from the generation to generation.
While she was chasing the grey mullets with incredible speed and the ability tomonoeuvre, suddenly saw the octopus waiting in the bottom of the pool. Afterwards, despite her swiftness, she stopped suddenly and returned and hit one of the octopuses. With an adult seal’s normal behaviour, she played with octopus and grey mullets for a long time but she didn’t eat them. Nevertheless, these unfortunate animals weren’t saved from Badem because although she was only a pup, she had strong tooth and chin. This action displayed that when Badem was released to the nature, she didin’t have difficulty in finding foods. From now on, live octopus and grey mullet would be put in Badem’s pool.

23 / 24 DECEMBER

Although it took longer than the planned, the construction of the caring center was nearly completed.  Badem was planned to be moved to until New Year. There were visitors of Badem from universities and abroad: Paolo Guglielmi / UNEP/MAP RAC-INFO, and Prof. Dr. Şükran Cirik / Çanakkale Uni. Faculty of Aqua Products visited Badem.  Guglielmi, as in previous years, he was charged in WWF-MEDPO (World Nature Protection Foundation- Mediterranean Programme Office) and due to the projects managed by  SAD-AFAG and WWF  he closely knew SAD-AFAG. Prof. Cirik was project leader in Foça Pilot Project in 1993-1994- SAD-AFAG’s first long-termed Project. Guglielmi and Cirik were informed about Badem’s rehabilitation and they talked about conserving Mediterranean monk seals.


Badem was 2.5. kg. heavier than she was first found and she was still gaining weight. She was stronger and she wasn’t compared with the time when she was first found.  The caretakers were having difficulty with her. Sometimes, she bit the caretakes and injured them. Badem will be a very serious female.

4th. WEEK:


Badem was continuing to gain weight. Her diet was being carried on with the same routine. The caring unit was about to be completed, it might be completed till the weekend. Badem would be moved before Christmas.


The construction of the rehabilitation center for Badem and other seals that are in need of assistance was about to be finished. Badem was in good health and she was still gaining weight. Now, she was 26 kg.

Badem was moved to the rehabilitation center today. Türkiye’s first and unique rehabilitation center was built in an area of 24 m2 and it included in 3 parts: 16 m2 was for the seal’s sheltering and this part consisted of an area of 8m2 platform and a pool of 12 tons.  The other two parts were of 6m2 kitchen and 2 m2entrance and changing rooms. In the building, quarantine rules were applied. The people who were to enter in the room had to change their clothes in the entance. The distance of the building to the sea was 4m. And the pool was filled with sea water.


Badem’s caring was going on in this facility. There weren’t any health problems. When she was weighted, it was seen that she reached 27 kg. She swam two times a day and tried to dive on her own.


Everyday, live octopus and fish brought by fishermen from Foça were put in Badem’s pool. Badem didn’t eat these animals now but while she was chasing them, she displayed all the same behaviour  like an adult seal that tried to hunt.

5th WEEK:


Badem reached the weight of 32 kg.  After she was fed, she swam half an hour. If the weather conditions were suitable, the fishermen from Foça brought her live fish and octopus.
All the equipment of the quarantina unit were nearly completed. After 8 January, the Office Unit next to the quarantina unit would be opened. In the very near future Badem would have an e-mail address.

6th WEEK:


When she was weighted on 10 January, she reached 32kg. She was still feeding with mashed fish. Swimming hours were increased. Everyday two live octopus were put in her pool, she killed and put into pieces but didn’t eat yet. The head of SRRC Lenie’t Hart came to Foça and visited Rehabilitation Center. The same day, a team from TRT came and made news about Badem and the rehabilitation center and interviewed with Lenie’t Hart and Harun Güçlüsoy.

7th  WEEK:


There were important progress about Badem’s condition. For the first time, she ate the live octopus in the pool after played it.  At the same time she resisted against to be fed with catheter so the swimming hours in the pool were increased and the number of the catheter decreased from 4 to 2. Richard Dijkema- the caretaker- said that she was about to eat on her own.  Cameras were placed in the room that Badem live in. It was possible to watch Badem live from internet 24 hours. You can click on the link:

Username: user1
Password: badem1

There were many visitors of Badem this week. All the primary schools in Foça came to see Badem. At the weekend, the Koç adopted Badem visited Badem  with their daughter. Especially their daughter was interested in Badem and admired her.

8th WEEK:


Eating with catheter was decreased after Badem ate the octopus but it was again increased later because Badem  wasn’t insistent on eating on her own. Badem was over 34 kg now and so she spent a lot of time in the pool.  On 27 January as a result of a trial, she began to eat the dead fish put in her pool. After 28 January, eating with a catheter was decreased to 1 time in two days. This week, there occurred an important development in terms of Badem’s eating on her own. In the trials, it was observed that Badem preferred to eat mackerel, whiting and kupes. The construction of the Office Unit was completed. The web cameras were applauded.
National Geographic Society, Comitee for Research and Exploration promised to be a sponsor for a gear that can be used for monitoring Badem after the release. However, SAD-AFAG and SRRC hasn’t decided yet.

9th WEEK


From the beginning of February to 9 February, she was continued to be put different octopuses and fish in Badem’s pool. It was seen that she only ate the soft parts of the fish but she didn’t eat fish. On the other hand, she ate a whole octopus.

Feeding with catheter was applied 2 or 3 times a day by counting the amount of the fish and octopus left in the pool.  At the last weighting, her weight was the same but it was observed that there was a change in her length. There was a gradual increase in her length. On 9 February 2007, Badem ate 5 octopus put in her pool. On 10 February feeding with catheter was decreased to 1 time a day and 9 octopuses were given. Badem ate all of them. On 11 February Badem was given 15 live octopuses and in half an hour Badem ate all of them. It was a great development to eat the octopus quickly. At the beginning, Badem preferred to play with the octopus she ate. Moreover; Badem was disturbed when there were humans around her. Even when she was in her pool, she was disturbed by the people standing on the platform. She got out of the pool and chased them out. And this was an indication that she would adapt to the nature quickly.

In the meantime, informative boards were hanged out of the rehabilitation center. Painting of the Office Unit and the electrical installment were completed.  A well was drilled to flow the water from the sea to the pool. The clean water came from the sea with the help of tubes filled the pool by a pump. As Badem spent most of her times in the pool, the pool was cleaned every morning.  The caretaker of Badem Richard Dijkema became ill last week but he didn’t neglect of her care although his illness continued to 12 February.

One of the members of SAD-AFAG Ayhan Tonguç started to be very busy with Badem’s fish and octopuses because she quickly ate all of the foods.  Sometimes, it wasn’t easy to find 5 octopus everyday

10th WEEK:


The habit of eating octopus on her own continued in these days, too. Sometimes, Badem ate ten small, live octopuses. As the nutritive value of octopus wasn’t very high, it was kept on making Badem feed with catheter to protect the weight and enegy of her. Recently it was more easily to place catheter to Badem with a method discovered by one of the caretakers of Badem vet Avni Gök.

Badem still didn’t start to be fed with fish though she ate soft fish or internal organs of the fish. On 20 February, eel was begun to be given to Badem. It was a good start for Badem in terms of her eating fish because eels were soft and had high rate of fat.  For 3- 4 days, Badem started to eat the whole of the 2-3 eels and also she continued to eat octopus. If Badem increased the amount of the fish she would eat, feeding with catheter would be ended completely. Badem’s mobility was seen clearly. She spent many of her times by swimming in the pool. Even while swimming in the platform, her actions were swifter than the past.

There were many visitors from İzmir and its niche at the weekends. Informative boards were put on the wall of the rehabilitation center for the visitors. The Office Unit was comleted altogether. A deep freezer was installed, infrastructure was completed. Supply of live fish and octopus continued the whole day. Nearly everyday, octopus was bought from troller ships and eels were bought estuary of Gediz. Moreover, other live fish were kept in fishgarths to be carried to Badem.

11th WEEK:

28 Şubat – 12 MARCH

Every day, Badem ate more eels than the previous day. She was looking forward to eating the eels brought to the estuary of Gediz. Eels were the main food for Badem as their fat rate was very high and this made her gain weight. First of all, Badem caught the fish put in her pool, then broke their backbone and when they were about to die, she swallowed all of them starting from their heads.   On March 2007 Richard Dijkema undertoook the responsibility to look after Badem. Marielle Bonnet returned to Holland. Richard said that there was no problem for Badem to eat eels because she would eat what she found when returned to the nature. Richard completely finished feeding Badem with catheter and SRRC experts determined the date that Badem was released to the nature. It would be the second term of April 2007.  For the exact date studies were continued. After Badem began to feed herelf, her aggressivity was decreased too. She didn’t bite the caretakers and when fish was thrown into the pool, she started to eat them.

12th WEEK

12 – 28 MARCH

Badem spent all of her time in the water in day times. The other day, she ate other fish as different from eels. She started to be interested in octopus. Every day she ate 4 octopuses not rejecting. Badem was the first seal that was fed with eels during the rehabilitation period.  Badem ate 50kg of eels in a day so she was weightened 50 kg at the last measurement. During this period, she ate approximately 50 kg of eels and nearly one third of this was transformed into weight in her body.  Now, Badem reached the normal weight. The amount of the eels was decreased to 2.5 kg in a day. She completely gave up the activity of sucking. She didn’t scream, she reached the normal appearance of an adult seal. Until she was released to the nature, it was hoped to remain in the same weight. (55-60) Before she was released to the nature, the relations with the humans were cut down and were given up. After 15 February rehabilitation unit was closed to the visitors and Badem would only see her caretakers.


FOUND on the open beach in Didim in December in 2006, the pup Mediterranean monk seal Badem was sent off Foça with Environment and Forestry Ministry Osman Pepe, İzmir Governor and many participants and with the support of Coast Guard Command she was released to her natural habitat in Gökova. Badem’s nursing was undertaken by Foça Municipality, Lenie’t Hart Zeehondencreche Holland Seal Hospital, with cooperation with SAD-AFAG vets, one head nurse and one marine biologist for 5 months and Badem became the first Mediterranean monk seal rehabilitated for a long time and then released to its habitat in Türkiye. The chairman of SAD-AFAG D. Haluk Camuşcuoğlu made a declaration about both young seal Badem’s rescue, her caring and the release to the nature :

Long-termed caring in the center: He answered  the question of how you knew that the mother of Badem and the cave were suffiently looked for: “ we closely know the area that Badem was found. That area is very far to the habitat of Mediterranean monk seals and there isn’t any known caves near the area.”   “ Badem might come from Greek Islands we don’t know but it is very clear that she is left from her mother in a way  as she hasn’t sucked milk for a few days.  This is a very long time for a pup.  Badem is sufferring from loss of water in her body. We face with a situation that in-situ rescue operation is impossible. Badem is about to die and she is in a semi-conscious condition when found. At that moment we haven’t any time to lose by looking for her mother, cave or any other procedure. Certainly first aid and long-termed caring must be needed. We have made our best under the cognizance of Environment and Forestry Ministry, FoçaMunicipality, Coast Guard Command and İzmir Governorship. We have given her a second life chance by turning her to life. 

Choice of Foça: Foça was chosen for the caring because Foça Municipalitycontracted to construct a rehabilitation center in Foça in the same day when the seal was found. There hadn’t been any rehabilitation center like this in that times in Türkiye. Therefore, certainly,  there was no need to look for a place for the long run caring and feeding. Moreover; vet Avni Gök who had the important knowledge of Mediterranean monk seal rescue and rehabilitation and had the practical and theoritical experience was working in Foça Municipality. In SAD team Dr. Harun Güçlüsoy took a role and he was also  marine biologist and educated in this field and was charged in Dokuz Eylül University. These were the uncomparable prevailable factors that a rehabilitation center should be built. Even if there was another alternative, we weren’t informed directly or indirectly when Badem found. Now, it was pointless to ask the question: “why did you choose Foça for Badem?”

Caring-Rehabilitation Procedure: The pup was subjected to strict caring protocol and procedures from the time when she was found to the time she would be released. With the experience of 35 years SRRC Holland Seal Hospital and Vet Avni Gök – he received all the training about seals from this hospital- and Dr. Harun Güçlüsoy applied all the quarantina and other sanitary rules needed. SRRC was accepted as one of the best hospital in its expertise field in the world.

Well-tried and applied for ages caring procedures were used and limited number of people cared and feed the seal. There was no doubt in this matter. All the caring process as the daily-weekly was broadcasted in our web-site with photos and shared with the public and govermental bodies in order to inform them.  When you enter the www. would be clearly understood. However, some people tried to make the agenda intricate instead of reach us directly tried to create problems by asking the same questions altough they were answered. But it was clearly known that Badem was cared painstakingly with a handful of experts and strict caring procedures. When the questions asked indirectly to our organization   were examined it was seen that both SRRC and MOM organizations weren’t known or they weren’t fully trusted.

Information of Governmental Bodies and Public: Our organization was very highly sensitive about informing Governmental bodies and public via internet and the press. From the beginning, SAD-AFAG regularly (5 December 2006) documented reports to Environment and Forestry Ministry, Nature Conservation and National Parks Headquarters, Coast Guard Command, Foça Municipality and Foça Governorship.  Firstly  Environment and Forestry Ministry, and then all the organizations and institutions were informed about the whole process and details. Only the coordinator institution Environment and Forestry Ministry had the authority to assemble the National Seal Committee. Yet, we were subjected to hinted questions as if we had had the authority to assemble that committee. We pointed out that we want the NMSC’s assemblage but we hadn’t any authority and responsibility and this had to be known for public. Yet we importantantly remarked that when NMSC or any othe sub committee working for this committee is assembled, the initiatives of the agenda should be eco-tourism in Mersin and also Mediterranean monk seal’s habitat managed under the leadership of Dr. Ali Cemal Gücü. Besides these matters, info about  the seal Rüzgar -found in İskenderun beaches and rehabilitated- should be given. Then we will talk about our agenda about Badem.

All the questions asked by the environmentalists, local authorities, scientists, press and public via newspaper interview and e-mail are all answered in the web-site and in the press release. In our websites and the whole process that Badem has undergone is explained in very detailed way. From her first found, the process of rehabilitation, caring, food to her release have been written in daily and weekly periodicals. In addition to this, for a short time she has been watched 24 hours from our web-site with the help of the cameras placed in the caring-rehabilitation center.

D. Haluk Camuşcuoğlu says that many of the questions asked have been answered in e-mail groups and it is pointless to ask the same questions and added that SAD-AFAG has 20 years of experience, has helped many injured, diseased and orphaned seals, has studied with the ver important national and international organization such as Foça Municipality, SRRC and MoM. Yet, Camuşcuoğlu also states that SAD-AFAG is always ready to cooperate with any organization whether it is less experienced at seal rehabilitation or not. Camuşcuoğlu says: “we need real cooperation not attrition “and adds that at similar situations SAD-AFAG, Foça Municipality and Environmental and Forestry Ministry will work together. He expresses that he has many anxieties about the seal found on İskenderun coasts because there hasn’t come any information about the seals, moreover although every information about Badem was reached to Environmental and Forestry Ministry, there hasn’t been any information reached to the concerned ministry about the seal Rüzgar. Moreover, info about Rüzgar wasn’t sent to National Seal Committee, hence the probable cooperation facility is closed to them.

The community deserves more information about the seal Rüzgar’s rehabilitation and the release to the nature. However, there is no sufficient news about it.

Watching Method : Radios and satellitte transmitters for following up are alternatives. There are experienced organizations that we cooperated before on this matter. One of them is MoM, the other is SRRC The Netherlands Seal Hospital. Although National Geographic has promised to help us, SAD-AFAG has made a detailed research about the subject matter. SRRC the Netherlands Seal Hospital insistently states that it is very dangerous to place a transmitter with an epoxy to the head of the seal and this result in injuries and infections. Upon this statement, SAD-AFAG has decided not to place transmitter on the head of the seals. Among the released seals, only a few of them have transmitters on top of their heads as there are equal advantage and disadvantage of it. As SAD-AFAG, we think that the life of this endangering animal is more important than the scientific researches or following studies. To be able to know Badem (if it is seen again), a plastic orange label is placed on its back fin.  In this action, the concerned procedure is followed and the action is made under the supervision of Vet Surgeon Avni Gök, Doctor Harun Güçlüsoy and The head caretaker of SRRC Richard Dijkema. Hence, after 9 days of release, the seal was seen in Datça, thanks to the label it was easily known.

Situation after Release : Badem’s close relations with people after the release make us inform the people who are curious about the situation.   Only in 3 countries in the world, diseased, injured and orphaned seals have been rescued, rehabilitated and released to the nature. Mauritania,Türkiye and Greece. As Badem is the first example, naturally the behaviors of the sweety pup make all the people curious.

After the scanning of literature, it is seen that both Mauritania and Greece has passed through the same process; the seal upon release to the nature, gets close contact with people. It  lives (it takes 1-2 seasons maximum) near human dwellings but this is transitory; then it returns its natural habitat. It should be underlined that Badem has been still a wild animal, she has bitten 25 people in Datça to protect herself as a reflex. Two of the 25 people (one Türk the other is a tourist from the Netherlands)  had to go to a hospital. In addition to these, there are some illnesses that pass from seals to the humans therefore; we shouldn’t get contact with the Mediterranean monk seals and any other sea animals. This will decrease the risk to minimum.

When the previous cases are examined, it is seen that the situation of Badem is very normal. The real point is that people should be kept away from Badem as seen in the examples of Mauritania and Greece. This will occur when people don’t get close and touch her. Keeping away from the Mediterranean monk seal in her habitat is for her goodness. However, it is observed from the photos in the press that the public, the tourists and the divers continue the action of loving BADEM.

If people get away of BADEM, she leaves the region, the most evident proof for this is the experience in Karaköy (Körmen) Port. When Badem was seen on 24 May in Körmen, SAD-AFAG, Foça Municipality and SRRC team came the port and gave information to the public. As people obeyed the rules of the watching team, the seal came to the port at early morning and when she was neglected, she left the port on her own.

Datça representative Sezer Çete and SAD-AFAG AFBIKA representative Captain Hasan Çıplak cooperate with local authorities, Coast Guard Command, security units and the municipality about information and watching of Badem in Datça. Moreover they give information to the local people that they should keep away of the seal for its goodness.

SAD-AFAG has sent a detailed and cautionary official reports to the concerned organizations Environmental and Forestry Ministry, Muğla Provinciality, Datça Sub-Governorship and Datça Municipality to decrease the contact of the seal with humans at a medium level.  Colorful charts were prepared and sent to the voluntary protectors of nature.

Moreover, from the SAD-AFAG team Doctor Harun Güçlüsoy, Cem O.Kıraç, Zafer Kızılkaya, Ayhan Tonguç, Foça Municipality Vet Surgeon Avni Gök and Richard Dijkema from the SRRC and the two representatives afore-mentioned visited Datça  Harbour Master , Datça Coast Guard Command, Datça Sub-Governorship and Datça Mayoralty and they presented suggestions and decided to act together.  People who support the organization and the actions are given thanking certificates. Sezer Çete , Captain Hasan Çıplak Vet Avni Gök and all the other people charged by Security Unit, Mayoralty and Sub-Governorship continued their watching and information studies in Datça day and night.

Besides; this team gave detailed information about the process and the things that should be done after the process to the public, schools, teachers, tourists and fishermen. Apart from this, representative of the organizations and institutions visited the beach that Badem came and made informative studies for the tourists and the public.

Support of The Governmantal Bodies: Nature Conservation and National Parks Headquarter Prof. Dr. Mustafa Kemal Yalınkılıç expressed his happiness for cooperating with our organization about the caring of the seal on the question asked from the journal of “YEŞİLİZ” and if it was needed NMSC would be assembled.  The headquarter affirmed the release field of Badem and commented: “Seals are often seen in  Datça and Gökova region. The people in this region are very aware of the matter and non-governmental organizations are very strong here.”

As before come to a agreement, with the Coast Guard Command, Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus is under our protection with our international responsibilities and national regulations. If a member of the species is in need of help, when get contact with our organization, we will act sensitively (transferring to the animal if needed) and continue to study.

Foça Municipality has stated the best expression about the cooperation with our organization by constructing a Rehabilitation Center. Foça Municipality Mediterranean monk seal Rehabilitation Center is ready with all its equipment and background for the whole adult, young, pup seals in need of help. As SAD-AFAG we repeatedly want to say that we are very decisive to cooperate with the afore mentioned organizations.

CONCLUSION : There aren’t any matter that can’t be expressed about Badem. Informative e-mails sent to the mail groups, questions answered via e-mail, official correspondence with Environmental and Forestry Ministry, reports with photos, news  on the press, daily developments in our web-site and all  the details about the nursery, articles on magazines and the news paper are all shared with the public, governmental bodies and non-governmental organizations. We are ready to answer all the questions and criticism that are positive but we are close to the all negative criticisms. We meet all the positive and open to cooperation approaches with thanks and repeat one more time that we need cooperation for Badem’s future..




The first literary praise from Yücel:



Onu görünce dün
Dünyanın tekrar yaratılıp
Düzelebileceğine inandım
Karşı dururken herşeye
Bu geçkin yaşıma bakmadan
“Olamaz, değişmez hiçbirşey” demelerine rağmen
Çağıra, bağıra
Ne tuhaf !
Onu, ben ben doğurdum sandım.

Güler Yücel
15 Ocak 2007, Foça

“The list of the persons and the organization who support during Badem’s Rehabilitation “

From Foça Municipality…

  • Gökhan Demirağ /Başkan
  • Avni Gök
  • Muzaffer Ağluç
  • A.Kadir Alper
  • Engin Dağlı
  • Özlem Dündar
  • Hakan Karamaç
  • Gürcan Kıpırdak
  • Esra Üretmenoğlu
  • Muharrem Yeşilkaya
  • Sadık Albayrak
  • Ramazan Anlıak
  • Nihan Atan
  • Emin Ayvaz
  • Levent Canözü
  • Sezgin Çelik
  • Cemal Demirbaş
  • Şeref Doğan
  • İbrahim Dündar
  • Celal Gültekin
  • İsmail Hassoy
  • Recai Kalyoncu
  • Murat Karaağaç
  • Süleyman Karaca
  • Latif Karadeniz
  • Osman Kefi
  • Yıldırım Kıbrıslı
  • İsmail Koldaş
  • Erdal Ocak
  • Seyid Ali Odabaş
  • Bahri Sağlam
  • Şevki Serdar
  • Filiz Soyak
  • Cengiz Şaşmaz
  • Nuri Cemal Şen
  • Süleyman Şipal
  • Abdullah Taşçı
  • Ali Rıza Taşkıran
  • Elim Taşkıran
  • Özcan Topaloğlu
  • Muharrem Ünal
  • Bahadır L. Yıldırım
  • Şahbender Yılmaz
  • Temel Yurdakul
  • Erkin Yüksektepe

From SunSail Club Phokaia…

  • Serkan Özek
  • Mutlu Akın
  • Hüseyin Ateş
  • Murat Cici
  • Sertaç Cömert
  • Cihat Çiçek
  • Ercan Dağlı
  • Cemil Erol
  • Resul Erol
  • Mekmet Göktaş
  • Mustafa Hakan
  • Tuncer İkiarkadaşlar
  • Fırat Kılıç
  • Abdulkadir Koçoğlu
  • Bedia Özer
  • Ozan Barış Özer
  • Uğur Sertkaya

From Foça Aqua Products Cooperative Society 

  • Yaşar Balta / Başkan
  • Şevki Avcı
  • Engin Beytorun
  • Timur Beytorun
  • Özden Çağlar
  • Ceyhan Çetin
  • Savaş Çetin
  • Ayhan Kaya
  • Hasan Turguttekin
  • Hüseyin Turguttekin
  • Nejdet Turguttekin
  • Mustafa Yaylaz

From Agriculture and Rural Affairs and Foça Agriculture …

  • Kemal Akıncı
  • Hamit Büyükateş
  • Arif Çankaya
  • Yaman Demir
  • Mehmet Özçiçek
  • Zehmeran Varuk

The other people who give support for Badem’s rehabilitation… 

  • Ahmet Abay
  • Prof. Dr. Bülent Akınoğlu
  • Jeny Androukaki / MOm
  • Yıldız Arar
  • Şebnem Arasil
  • Enver Arcak
  • Leyla Arsan
  • Yaman Asil
  • Nuriye Nilgün Aydoğan
  • Canip Baran
  • Ilksen Dinçer Baş
  • Korer Baş
  • Ogün Başgöz
  • D. Haluk Camuşçuoğlu
  • Yeşim Çağlayan
  • Enver Çağlayan
  • Emine Çelikel
  • Yener Çeltikçi
  • Soner Çınar
  • Çiğdem Çoygun
  • Zekai Demir / Diagonal
  • Reha Draman
  • Murat Draman
  • Çiğdem Durakbaşa
  • Yeşim Erke
  • Işıl Filipuçi
  • Güzel Yücel Gier
  • Asuman Gök
  • Ece Göksu Gök
  • Egemen Gök
  • Göksel Göker
  • Burhan Gümüş
  • Jülide Gündüz
  • Serdar Hamarat
  • Jason Hayward-Jones
  • Mehmet Ziya Huz / Dolphinland Diving Center
  • Volkan Hürsever
  • IFAW Avrupa Ofisi
  • William M. Johnson
  • Asuman Kabasakal
  • Yurdakul Kabasakal
  • Gökhan Kaboğlu
  • Doğa Kıraç
  • Fatoş Kıraç
  • Münevver Çakır
  • Örge Kızıltepe
  • Enric Sala
  • Kadri Selçuk Kolay
  • Zeynep Aydemir Koyun
  • Serpil Kozludere
  • Genç Köylü
  • Neyin Köylü
  • Murat Küçükdurgu
  • Sinan Küçükdurgu
  • MOm, all our friends from Greece…
  • Bahar Nargileci / OASIS Bodrum
  • Prof. Dr. Sedat Yerli
  • Tanju Meral Kıraç
  • Handan Oktay
  • Aras Öner
  • Güven Özbayrak
  • Can Gölcük Özgün
  • Mutlu Payaslioğlu
  • Tülin Pekeşen
  • Gürdoğar Sarıgül
  • Yalçın Savaş
  • Matthias Schnellmann
  • Ahmet Talat Us / Bagno di Roma
  • Gökhan Tan
  • Özgür Tarhan
  • Erkan Tenekeci
  • Gökhan Türe
  • Dr. Peter J.H. van Bree
  • M.Mazhar Vardar / OASIS Bodrum
  • Güzden Varinlioğlu
  • Mehmet Vedat Vural
  • Yaprak Yaltı
  • Atila Yanpar
  • Kenan Yapıcı
  • Erhan Yazıcı

“The people and the organizations who support the Release of Badem and after the release


  • Tümamiral Can Erenoğlu, Coast Guard Comman
  • TCSG 101 SG Botu
  • Yzb. Cengiz Çevik, TCSG 101 Boat Comman
  • Coast Guard Datça Boat Command
  • Ütğ. Gökhan Elçi, TCSG 2 Boat Command
  • Dear Mustafa Kaya, Datça Sub-Governor
  • Dear Erol Karakullukçu, Datça Mayor
  • Datça Harbour Mastership
  • Dear Ali Yaşar Işıkhan, Datça Harbour Master
  • Dear Yaşar Binboğa, Chief Inspector Datça Harbour Mastership
  • Sezer Çete/Datça
  • Hasan Çıplak/Datça
  • Servet Deniz/Datça
  • Daniel Querido
  • Hakkı Kafalı, Vet, Datça
  • Ahmet Vural,Captain, Datça
  • Bülent Sancaktar, Architect, Datça
  • Amazon Camping, Gökova Bay, Cengiz Tecelli
  • Golden Key Hotel, Gökova Bat, Kudret Erduvan