A preservation project has been kicked off to protect the small population of dolphins and whales living along the Karatas coast in Turkey’s southern Adana province.

With the initiatives of the Rufford Foundation, the Underwater Research Association (SAD) and marine biologist Vahit Alan, the project is scheduled to continue for a year.  A part of the “cetaceans” family, the dolphins and whales were first spotted off Karatas coasts during some random observations. Some of these whales were later found to be members of a rare species.

The project aims at raising awareness about the whale and dolphin populations along the eastern Mediterranean and will also involve local youths.   “Aside from whales and dolphins, the project also targets to identify all marine mammals existing along the coast. Then we will be able to take more concrete steps against possible risks, including the risk of extinction,” said Alan.

So far under the project, 15 field visits have been carried out and the team has spotted Afalina dolphins.  “During one of our field trips, we found dolphins roaming in groups. The largest group had as many as 25 members. They mostly prefer river mouths for dispersion,” Alan continued.

Local fishermen active along the Karatas coast have also been briefed about the project to inform the project team whenever they spot dolphins and whales.
 According to information provided by the U.K.-based Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, cetaceans are marine mammals that evolved from their land mammal ancestors around 55 to 60 million years ago and have perfectly adapted to an aquatic life during this time. There are currently about 83 different species of whales, dolphins and porpoises in the world, but new species are still being discovered.

 

Source:  Daily Sabah

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