Yakup Kaska

Country: Turkey

Occupation: Researcher and Lecturer at Pamukkale University in Denizli, Turkey

Specialty: Herpetology, turtles, sea turtle conservation, research on sex ratio variation and heavy metal pollution.

Best part about my job: Having too many volunteer students at the university to help with my field work along the entire Mediterranean coast of Turkey.

Biggest challenges I face: Trying to find the middle ground between the different forces affecting sea turtles: government, tourism, fishing, etc., both as scientist and conservationist.

The most unusual or exciting thing that’s happened to me while working in the field: I am watching three of my volunteers on night patrol. They are about 20-30 meters in front of me and they are trying to see the tag number of a female turtle who just entered to the sea at about 1 m depth. Two of them were able to catch the female by the back flippers and the third one was wearing trousers so he could not jump into the sea – he started taking his jeans off. The female turtle was too strong and started carrying the other two volunteers into the deeper waters. As I watched the two holding the turtle and the third trying to take jeans off, I started laughing and asked “what kind of conservation is this?”

Why I like being a member of the MTSG: Since I did both my MSc and PhD on turtles, I want to be in a group of people who specialize on marine turtles.

Turtle researcher / conservationist I most admire: Nicholas Mrosovsky (I started reading sex ratio estimation papers by him before I first met him 1996 in USA and then he even came to give a lecture at my University).
When I’m not working on turtles I like to: Trekking, traveling, playing and watching football

Ten years from now, I hope I will be doing: I hope I will still be helping turtles especially in a rescue center. Hopefully we will have the first official sea turtle rescue center in Turkey in the near future.

Relevant links to find out more about me and my work: Pamukkale University Sea Turtle Research Unit