Headlines – News – Articles
30th January, 2010

Released again, Badem heads for Greece

Badem on Rhodes

Recently released from her temporary confinement in a specially-constructed pen in Gökova Bay, Turkey, orphaned seal Badem wasted little time swimming off to Greece [see New cage built for Badem]. Her first known port of call was the eastern Aegean island of Rhodes, and the popular port of Lindos.

Greek NGO MOm was alerted to the seal’s presence on 21 January 2010 by the Hydrobiological Station of Rhodes. Observers reported the animal displaying a range of unusual behaviours, including resting on small fishing boats in the harbour, and allowing people to pet it.

Following contact and information exchange with their Turkish counterparts SAD-AFAG (which undertook the rescue and rehabilitation of the orphaned seal in association with the SRRC of Pieterburen, the Netherlands), MOm dispatched its own experienced rescue staff to Rhodes in order to assess the situation, liaise with local bodies, and formulate a range of possible actions to deal with the ‘problem’ seal.

Badem on Rhodes

Badem became imprinted on her human carers during her lengthy 5-month rehabilitation,  a condition exacerbated following her release in April 2007 by swimmers’ and beachgoers’ demands  to swim and play with her.

Because of the risks of injury both to bathers and to Badem herself, steps were taken to place the seal in temporary summer confinement during the height of the tourist season. Turkish conservationists have repeatedly voiced the hope that, given the cooperation of the public in staying away from the animal, Badem may regain her species’ more reclusive wild instincts, and shun human contact.

On 23 January, MOm reported sightings of Badem in the old trade port of the island, where she was reported resting on board a boat until sunset.

She reappeared at noon the following day (Sunday 24 January) at neighbouring Simi island, closer again to the Turkish mainland.

MOm continues to monitor the animal’s movements through its rescue network (RINT), while drawing up its consultation document of options that might be considered should the animal decide to stay in Greece.

Further information on Badem.

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