Last modified: 2016-10-23 by ivan sache
Keywords: foça |
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Flag of Foça, two versions - Images by Jens Pattke, 15 December 2012
The municipality of Foça (32,141 inhabitants in 2012, 27,987 in the town proper; 20,449 ha) is located 70 km north-west of İzmir downtown. The town was known to the Greeks as Phocaea or Phokaia. Colonists from Phocaea founded in 600 BC the colony of Massalia; the modern French town of Marseilles, still proud of its Greek origin, is self-styled the "Phocian city".
Ivan Sache, 28 February 2016
The flag of Foça (photo, photo) is white with the municipality's round emblem in the middle. "Belediyesi" means "Municipality". The flag was seen in 2008 with the municipality's square emblem.
The emblem of the municipality features a Mediterranean monk seal, Monachus monachus (Hermann, 1779), listed on the Red List of endangered species by IUCN (profile). The number of mature individuals in the eastern Mediterranean, Turkey included, is likely fewer than 250.
The Foça Special Environment Protection Area contains essential habitats for the monk seals on the coasts of Turkey. It is clearly known that the Mediterranean monk seal lived in this part even in ancient times and today this local area takes its name from monk seals [in Greek, phôkê means "a sea calf"; this is the root of phoque (French), foca (Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Catalan and Spanish), and foku (Turkish)].
The area was surveyed in 2005-2008, with the following results (Cem Orkun Kıraç and Harun Güçlüsoy. Conservation and Monitoring of the Mediterranean Monk Seals (Monachus monachus) in Foça Special Environment Protection Area, 2008):
The Mediterranean monk seals have still been using Foça SEPA which holds suitable habitats. Although 9 monk seals were identified during continuous monitoring in the early periods, now it can be said 3 monk seals still exist in area according to the data obtained 2005–2008. It is also possible to suggest that the population can be higher. For the last 15 years, the whole area has been used as the habitat of the monk seals [...]. In the previous periods of the project between 1993–2004, the annual average sighting of the monk seal and standard deviation were 69±49, while these numbers decreased to 14±11 during the period of 2005–2008. Also the annual average cave usage rates were 44 while there were only 2 apparent tracks / signs in the caves reported in 2008 (covering only summer and autumn periods). It is considered that monk seal tracks and signs in the caves can be more indicative than the monk seal sightings when compared with the past. The reason for decreased monk seal sightings can be attributed to increased -and still increasing- maritime traffic and human activities in coastal and marine areas of the region, and insufficient patrolling activities. All these increased maritime activities gradually created some pressure on the species and its habitat. It is an expected result that no breeding takes place under these conditions.
Tomislav Šipek & Ivan Sache, 28 February 2016