Two pups released on the coast between Anamur and Gazipaşa, Cilicia, Mersin

In cooperation with Turkish Ministry of Environment & Forestry and Turkish Coast Guard and SAD-AFAG, two monk seal pups were released along the coast between Anamur and Gazipaşa, southern Türkiye, one of the most suitable monk seal habitats in the country, in 2nd April 2011.

The two pups re-introduced back to the Mediterranean by SAD-AFAG rehab team near Gazipaşa in April 2011. 

The pups were first transported from Foça to Bozyazı and then transferred to Coast Guard boat in Bozyazı port to reach the actual release site by sea. The pups were then transported to the release shore via a zodiac boat of the Coast Guard and released on a remote beach. The pups stayed on the beach around 5 minutes after release and soon entered the sea successively. They did not seperate and moved together disappearing in the coastal waters. SAD-AFAG, Coast Guard and Turkish Ministry of Environment & Forestry Mersin District Directorate staff have been monitoring the site since the release date in order to sight or collect any sighting data relevant to the seals. As a result of both field surveys and contacts with the local people In Anamur, Melleç and Kaledran including fishermen by the above organizations, no sighting of pups were recorded until now and no information has been gathered from the local people about any monk seal pups injured, ailing or dead, or imprinted to human. The area has relatively low density of human population and fishery activities compared to other coastal zones around the area as well as other parts of Turkish coasts.

The new technique on the feeding of monk seal pups during rehabilitation will be shared by SAD-AFAG with the monk seal conservation community. It is believed that the time, effort and money are saved with this new technique for orphan pups under rehabilitation while pup(s) are in less interaction with the carers, which will reduce the potential of pups imprinted to human due to close contact especially during force feeding sessions. (watch the video)

SAD-AFAG thanks Turkish Coast Guard and Ministry of Environment & Forestry (both HQ and Mersin District Directorate) for their cooperation and support for the sea transfer and participation for release of the pups.

© 2011 SAD-AFAG

Turkish Coast Guard zodiac transfers release team to the shore. (c) C.O.Kıraç SAD-AFAG

Monk seal pups on the open beach between Gazipaşa and Anamur, Cilician coasts. (c) C.O.Kıraç SAD-AFAG