The Mediterranean monk seal is a critically endangered marine mammal. Only about 100 indididuals (including reproducing adults and juveniles) are left in the wild along the 8500 km long Turkish coast.
Dilara and Tina are two orphaned Mediterranean monk seal pups (Monachus monachus) found in December 2010 along Turkish Mediterranean coast. Both pups were immediately taken under ex-situ rehabilitation and care in Foça Monk Seal Rehab Unit by SAD-AFAG. Unlike the previous experiences, SAD-AFAG team tried an innovative feeding technique, drinking fish porridge from open cups with no external effort by the care takers. This was successfully achieved and monk seal pups reached to a healthy stage for release. They were monitored at least three months in the area by Turkish Coast Guard, local fishermen and SAD-AFAG and no sick or dead pups were recorded in and around the release site.
Both monk seal pups were successfully released back to nature near Gazipasa (Antalya) and this video is an exerpt focusing only on the new feeding technique.
SAD-AFAG is a dedicated Turkish NGO working to protect the Mediterranean monk seal since 1987. Their headquarters is located in Ankara but the rehabilitation center is in the historical town of Foça (Phokaia) near İzmir where the Sirens Rocks mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey are found. They have recently launched Seal Watch Phase 5 project to monitor breeding populations.