Monk seal pups to be released

After having a rehab period of total 105 days, i.e. 3,5 months, two monk seal pups to be released on 2nd April 2011 along the pristine and remote coasts between Gazipaşa (Antalya) and Anamur (Mersin). The release area is among the twelve Important Monk Seal Sites in Türkiye as agreed by National Monk Seal Committee Members coordinated by Turkish Ministry of Environment & Forest. The release shall be participated by Ministry of Environment & Forest, Izmir Province Directorate of Env & Forest, Turkish Coast Guard and SAD-AFAG.

Two pups have been under rehabilitation and care in Foça Med.Monk Seal Rehab Center since 18th December 2010, operated in cooperation by Foça Municipality, İzmir Greater Municipality and SAD-AFAG. The general health conditions of the seals are good and they do not have any sicknesses or abnormality. Blood and feace sampling as well as nostril secretion samples were taken by the vets from the veterinary policlinic in İzmir on 31st March 2011 accompanied by EPASA staff and SAD-AFAG team and the results have shown that the seal pups do not have sickness symptoms. Rehab team has shown special attention not to get in touch or interaction with seal pups during feeding and cleaning sessions in the facility. As a result, the seals always keep distance to the carers and even remain away from the carers either hiding inside the “artificial cavern” in the unit or diving in the pool staying long inside. The pups have been observed by the team members from a hide established outside the unit with small openings looking inside the pool. Also the staff veterinery from Izmir Province Directorate of Env & Forest visited the unit several time and made observations together with EPASA’s staff including a biologist and Ozan Veryeri and concluded that overall impression of the monk seal pups are healthy and they showed a shy behaviour of Med. monk seals.

Meanwhile, SAD-AFAG had some difficulty in between 19 February and 18 March due to vet Avni Gök from Izmir Greater Municipality. During this blind period only A.Gök had continued the feeding and cleaning of the unit. Later, MoEF has issued an official letter to remove vet Avni Gök and call SAD-AFAG on duty back. The weighs of seal pups are 34 kg and 37 kg and lenghts are 128 cm and 135 cm respectively as of 1 April 2011. The team has put all efforts to make seals gain physical and behavioral capacity to adopt to nature. By the end of March 2011, the rehab team has concluded that seals have convenient level of rehab for release to wild life referring their ability of hunting behaviour on various species and condition of health for adaptation to natural life.

© 2011 SAD-AFAG