Endangered monk seals spotted along Turkish Cypriot coast
Gökhan Karakaş - ISTANBUL
A Mediterranean monk seal (monacus monacus) family has been spotted on the shores of Turkish Cyprus, giving hope to nature lovers who have been leading struggles to protect and keep the endangered species alive.
North Cyprus Turtle Conservation Society announced on April 5 that seven Mediterranean monk seals, four of which are adults and three of which are newborn, have been living for a long time by the shores of Turkish Cyprus as a result of their three-year observations.
Speaking to daily Milliyet, Robin Snape, a researcher of the association and an academic at the U.K.-based University of Exeter, stated that the main breeding ground for seals is the western part of the island.
Stressing that the region does not have a protection status, Snape said that they determined that Mediterranean monk seals established a regular life in North Cyprus through night observations in areas far from humans.
Mediterranean monk seals mostly seek refuge in inaccessible caves and newborn seals are much more vulnerable to the dangers that can be caused by their environment, as well as from human activity, according to experts.
Snape said that the monk seal observation on the island could only go back until 2006, but the number of fishermen that have witnessed them has increased since 2010.
“Considering that only 350-400 Mediterranean monk seals remain in eastern Mediterranean, it is very important that 15 percent of them live on the coasts of Turkey and Cyprus,” he added.