Turkey is among the four main countries where Mediterranean monk seals live. The Underwater Research Society-Mediterranean Seal Research Group (SAD-AFAG) are monitoring the coastal caves that these unique seals dwell in the Aegean, Marmara and Mediterranean Seas with infrared cameras as part of a study on the observation of the animals in their habitat.
So far, a total of seven caves have been monitored in order to better understand the behaviors of Mediterranean monk seals in their natural habitat.
Quite interestingly, the study revealed that there has been an increase in the number of seals in the region.
Nesimi Ozan Veryeri, chairman of the Underwater Research Society, stressed the fact that Turkey is among the rare countries where Mediterranean monk seals exist.
"Mediterranean monk seals usually dwell in the Aegean, Marmara and Mediterranean and nearly 100 seals are in the region. Mostly, we come across with females as there is a very small number of male seals," Veryeri said, explaining that they conduct their research at night when the seals can be observed with technology that does not disturb them.
According to Veryeri, if researchers conducted their studies in the morning hours, they would find that there are no seals in the region.
"However," Veryeri continued, "We carry out our study along the untouched shores especially during winter and at night when the human population reduces. We focus on the protection of these areas as well. If there is any man-made structure in the area, we work on finding locations where we can move these projects and present a report."
As a part of the SAD-AFAG study, researchers have examined Çanakkale-Karabiga in the Marmara Sea, the İzmir-Foça Special Nature Protection Area in the Aegean, the Antalya-Kalkan, Kaş-Kekova Special Nature Protection Area and Gazipaşa in the Mediterranean.
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