Rare monk seal spotted by students in Antalya
ANTALYAA monk seal (monacus monacus) has been spotted in a creek in the Manavgat district of Turkey’s southern province of Antalya, marking the endangered species’ first ever river appearance, daily Hürriyet reported on April 11.
The seal was seen when a group of foreign exchange students from the Manavgat Namık Karamancı Science High School and the Akşemseddin Science and Art Center, led by bioengineer Hüseyin Çağlar İnce, were visiting the Manavgat creek as part of an environment workshop project. As the group was being lectured about the seals, which currently number only 700 around the world, one was seen apparently hunting in the creek’s mouth to the sea.
Monk seals are facing dire threat of extinction, mostly due to external factors. Scientists believe that around 100 monk seals are nestling around the Mediterranean and the Aegean coasts of Turkey.
İnce said the incident marked the first recording of a monk seal in a creek. Creeks are thought to have become preferable for the seals for hunting reasons, as well as due to rising salinization as a result of lowering water levels.