Damla Beton

Growing up in a small island, experiencing very hot and dry summers versus blooming and sunny winter and springs, I have always been fascinated by nature. This caused my interest in biology and ecology in time. Consequently, I graduated from biology in 2001 and did my PhD in macroecology using GIS and distribution modelling software in 2011.

I have always been very enthusiastic in field studies. I have been doing fieldwork voluntarily and professionally since 1998. I strive to take every opportunity to increase my experience and knowledge on different aspects of ecology. Consequently, I have a range of experiences with many different taxa, in a variety of habitats, employing many different techniques. Some of these are:

·          ‘Marine Turtle Conservation Project, North Cyprus’

·          ‘Great Bustard National Action Plan (Turkey)’ (http://www.dogadernegi.org/userfiles/Toy%20Eylem%20Plan%C4%B1.pdf)

·          ‘Reintroduction of Anatolian Mouflon Project’

·          ‘Determination and Monitoring of Monk Seal Populations around North Eastern Mediterranean’

·          ‘Preparation of a Baseline Study on the Environmental Conditions of the Karpaz Peninsula in the Northern Part of Cyprus’

·          ‘Determination of Ecologically Important Wetlands of T.R.N.C. Project’

·          ‘Technical assistance for management and protection of potential Natura 2000 sites in the northern part of Cyprus’

·          ‘Assessing the Current Status of the RAMSAR Areas in Turkey’

During all these years I have been a keen birdwatcher, looking out for and recording birds at each opportunity. As a result, in 2010 I got a job as scientific officer in an EU funded project called “All-Cyprus IBAs Project” run by local non-governmental organizations called ‘The North Cyprus Society for the Protection of Birds and Nature (KUSKOR)’ where I worked together with my husband Robin Snape. Through this contract  we came to know the birds of Cyprus exceptionally well. We still continue to volunteer at KUŞKOR and we moderate the sightings forum (http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/kuskor/), which continues to get busier and busier. Each month we organise field outings for locals and raise cash to keep the office and library open in Kyrenia. Meanwhile, as there isn’t any centre of rehabilitation in North Cyprus we are trying to recover wounded wild birds including song birds as well as large raptors such as Bonelli’s eagle, harriers, owls, peregrine falcon and release them back into wild which helps me in gaining experience about handling birds.

In 2012, having found professional opportunities in North Cyprus for conservation biologists almost non-existent, we established this enterprise in an attempt to fund our continued research, outreach activities and voluntary involvement in environmental NGOs in North Cyprus.

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