Whales species seen in Turkish waters in danger: Expert
Six whale species that live in the Mediterranean and Aegean seas have been classified as endangered after they were washed ashore due to fishing nets, currents, sickness and sonar frequency, according to a Turkish expert.
Conducting a series of research in the fields of taxonomy, Pedram Türkoğlu, a prominent zoologist, made a call for the protection of whale species seen on the Turkish waters, sharing the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
According to the organization’s list, cachalot and Fin whale are deemed “susceptible,” while European beaked whale, common beaked whales, beaked whale and minke whale are in the “least concern” category.
Stating that especially the population of cachalot and Fin whale species has ceased to be “near-threatened” and entered the “endangered” category, the expert, however, heralded that other species seen in the Turkish waters are not as endangered as the aforementioned duo.
“But this is not a success,” said Türkoğlu, noting that it was important to keep their populations in this position.
“A few years later, we shouldn’t see them in the category ‘sensitive,’ either,” she noted, making a call to raise the awareness of the community about wildlife.
“We have to press the shutter, not the trigger,” the expert added.
Noting that there are two groups of whales named ‘toothed whales’ and ‘toothless whales,’ Türkoğlu noted that all dolphins are toothed whale species and the largest known dolphin species is the orca, called the “killer whale.”
Pointing out that whales were seen only in the Mediterranean and Aegean waters possibly due to their connection with the Atlantic Ocean, Türkoğlu said that only three dolphin species known as harbor porpoise, common bottlenose dolphin and common dolphin live in the Black Sea, and these three species are also seen in the Bosphorus.
Reminding that the International Whaling Commission (IWC) banned commercial hunting in 1986 to protect the extinction of whales, Türkoğlu emphasized that, however, poaching is very common in Turkey.
Underlining that the population of whales in Turkish waters has been declining day by day due to both hunting and the decrease of their feeding areas, the expert said that the most known causes of whale and dolphin deaths are fishing nets, currents, decompression sickness and sonar frequency and boats.
“Reports of whale deaths from boats in Turkey are low, but the same is not true for dolphins,” she noted.
A two years of in-depth analysis that released its outcomes in 2020 shows that the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea are home to more than 800,000 whales and dolphins.