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Mediterranean Monk Seals

Discover Turkey, home of Mediterranean Monk Seals


Turkey's Mediterranean Monk Seals

Turkey is considered a natural haven and home to Mediterranean Monk Seals which are in danger of extinction. Mediterranean Monk Seals are total about 350-400 in the world, just about 50 of these monk seals live only on the coastline of Turkey.

Mediterranean Monk Seals

Under the auspices of the Ministry of the Environment a program is underway to project the last surviving colonies of monk seal along Turkey's Mediterranean and Aegean coasts, and in addition an international project is being conducted within the framework of the Bern and Barcelona conventions.

Apart from a small colony of monk seals on the shores of the Western Sahara on the Atlantic Ocean, the only remaining colonies of this species are the eastern Mediterranean. The fact that the species has survived along Turkey's shores is due to the preservation of the natural environment in many areas and low pollution levels. Further evidence that environmental conservation along Turkey's coast is succeeding is the continued existence of pine forest and long unspoilt beaches despite extensive construction in recent years.

Monks Seals are seen to a lesser extent in the Marmara and Black Sea, but they are most common around Foca, near Izmir, on the Aegean coast. A local Monk Seal Committee has set up in the town, followed by another at Yalikavak near Bodrum further to the south.

Important Habitats

Some parts of the coastline in Turkey are under strict environmental protection for Mediterranean Monk Seals. These monk seals, altough rarely, can be seen in the caves and coves in Foca and are rather human-shy.

14 sites in Turkey are classified as important habitats for the Mediterranean Monk Seals;

  • Gokceada - Bozcaada - Baba, Canakkale
  • Foca and Yeni Foca, Izmir
  • Karaburun and Mordogan Peninsula, Izmir
  • Alacati town near Cesme, Izmir
  • Dilek Peninsula in Kusadasi, Aydin
  • Kudur Peninsula near Bodrum, Mugla
  • Karaada Village in Bodrum, Mugla
  • Oren Village in Gokova Gulf, Mugla
  • Bozburun near Datca, Mugla
  • Gocek near Fethiye, Mugla
  • Beydaglari Coast National Park near Kemer, Antalya
  • Gazipasa and Tasucu Area, Mersin
  • Cilician Basin, Adana
  • Samandag Town, Hatay

Mediterranean Monk Seals in Turkey

Mediterranean Monk Seal, Foca, Izmir