Anger as seal pup found dead,
A PROTECTED Mediterranean monk seal pup was found dead near Gemikonağı on Monday after film and photographs of the live pup at the harbour with fishermen and the public were widely shared on social media last week.
Wildlife enthusiasts’ joy at the sighting swiftly turned to angry outcry and recriminations as the news of the animal’s death spread on the internet.
The rare pup’s demise has prompted calls for better protection by the responsible state Animal Husbandry Department, including exclusion zones to protect breeding seals. New regulations were already under discussion and are now in the pipeline.
The pup is believed to have been displaced from its cave by a storm on October 27.
The Society for the Protection of Turtles has monitored the site since 2016 and established round-the-clock patrols to follow the highly active pup until last Wednesday, October 31 when a cow was observed and the pup disappeared.
A second storm hit the coast on Sunday, after which the pup was found dead.
A spokesman for the state Animal Husbandry Department said: “A necropsy to ascertain the cause of death was performed on Wednesday at the Near East University Animal Hospital in the presence of a state vet and LITTER-pickers have been out in force again this week, blitzing rubbish in areas Karakum and Tatlısu.
The latest came at Girne’s Chrysokava archaeological area — site of a Roman cemetery and rock tombs — on Thursday when volunteers flocked to collect scattered litter. Girne Mayor Nidai Güngördü was among the group which also included students from the 19 Mayıs Türk Maarif College and civil society organisations, all of whom were thanked by organiser Oya Kutsal, who vowed to continue efforts to improve the town in collaboration with the municipality and others.
A group of 14 joined forces last Saturday for a clean-up at Karakum beach organised by Café Deniz representative of our department. Pathology reports are not expected before next week.”
Sightings of the monitored pup without its mother raised concerns last week when the Taşkent Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre offered to take the youngster into care.
The offer was rejected by government officials and scientists in favour of leaving the animal in the wild to reconnect with its mother.
The survey team, which includes recognised monk seal expert Middle East Technical University Professor Ali Cemal Gücü, will release an official statement after reviewing data and necropsy results.
Taşkent owner Kemal Basat said: “Our Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre is now just one part of our Cyprus Wildlife Research Institute which includes a Marine Life Centre, Wildlife Hospital and Animal Research Laboratory.
“We are concerned that a sick stray dog was spotted at the Gemikonağı harbour where the pup first appeared, as there is a distemper epidemic which also kills seals.
“A total of only 500 Mediterranean monk seals are estimated to be left, with just seven or eight on our shores.” owner Gill Radcliffe. The effort collected more than 20 bags of debris in just over an hour, filling two rubbish bins. Remaining bags were collected on Monday by Girne Municipality.
On the same day, the third monthly Tatlısu “womble” saw 20 people — including Tatlısu Mayor Hayri Orçan and local doctor Kıvanç Buhara — gather at Moonstar Restaurant from where they took on the challenge to clean the roadside verges and fields.
Collected garbage was dropped at a point from where it were taken by municipality teams to be sorted for recycling or general waste disposal.
The next “womble” will take place on the first Saturday of December, starting from the café on the turning to Sweetwater Bay.
Volunteers at Karakum Volunteers picking up rubbish from the Chrysokava area (above) and the Tatlısu area (below)
The Mediterranean monk seal pup was found dead on Monday