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Mediterranean seal attacked, killed near Bodrum

BODRUM - Hürriyet Daily News | 4/22/2010 12:00:00 AM |

In the popular resort town of Yalıkavak, near the Bodrum district, a Mediterranean seal in protected breeding waters was found beaten and shot to death.

In the popular resort town of Yalıkavak, near the Bodrum district, a Mediterranean seal in protected breeding waters was found beaten and shot to death.

An autopsy performed on Thursday revealed the seal, which was found dead at 5 p.m. Wednesday, was shot in the head and chest with a hunting rifle and slashed with a sharp object.

The 1.8-meter, 170-kilogram female seal was found on the beach by Sporkent-1 housing complex manager Muammer Aşan and captain Üstün Mavi.

Aşan and Mavi informed municipal officials and the body of the seal was taken by municipal patrols.

An autopsy performed by veterinarian Fulya Massozzi of the Underwater Research Society Mediterranean Seal Research Group, or SAD-AFAG, revealed that the seal was not only shot at but also beaten. “The seal has been hit on the head, neck and right shoulder with a sharp object; its blade bone and sternum are broken,” Massozzi told the Doğan news agency.

She said the seal did not have any markings that would reveal its identity, adding that there were three registered seals living off the Yalıkavak shore. “We have never seen such a big seal around here, so we assume that it came to Yalıkavak from Greece,” said Massozzi. “It is a very healthy and well fed animal, it is not possible to understand why someone wants to kill a seal.” She said the seal belonged to the “monacus monacus” family, a species that is very rare in Turkey and has an overall population of around 540.

Yalıkavak Mayor Mustafa Saruhan, a member the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, said the incident was unacceptable. “The seal must have been attacked in the sea, because Küdür Peninsula, the living and breeding area of the Mediterranean seal, is a protected zone and constantly observed both from the land and the sea,” said the mayor.

Mavi said the seal might have been attacked by the keepers of one of the fish farms located between Yalıkavak and Didim. “Sometimes the seals try to eat the fish in the farms and are not welcomed by farm owners, as they damage the nets,” said Mavi. The seals are wild animals and approaching them with a boat to harm them would be very difficult, he added.

Gendarmerie forces in Yalıkavak have launched an investigation on land for the incident while Bodrum Coast Guard performs a search operation on the sea.

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