Instantly recognisable by his beards and hats, we get to know a little bit more about Fethiye nature lover, Ali Ihsan Emre.

Ali Ihsan was born in the small village of Osmanlar, which is near Demirci in the Province of Manissa. As a child he studied hard at school and in the summer time took to the mountains to shepherd the family flocks. He studied mathematics and topography at university and went on to work for a mining exploration company surveying sites and producing maps.

The many hats and beards of Ali Ihsan

It was while surveying the chromium mines in this area that he first came to Fethiye.  For nearly twenty years he had a bar on Calis beach front – Ali’s Ark so named because he had soon amassed a small menagerie of animals that he cared for in the grounds.

This was also an ideal spot from which to study and care for the Carretta Carretta sea turtles which nest on the beaches here.

Ali Ihsan has always been a little idiosyncratic, he lived in a tee-pee covered with morning glory in the garden at Ali’s Ark and over the years has cultivated some amazing beards and a penchant for hats.

In his spare time he loves nothing better than to explore the areas in which he lives – he is a very knowledgeable walking guide and is passionate about nature; especially Sea Turtles, birds (of all kinds) and wild flowers.

Often called upon to help care for injured animals, Ali Ihsan has nursed everything from horses, to wild boars, falcons to the reconstruction of the skull on an injured turtle.

“I also enjoy – and am good at – photography” he says. “Nature and the environment have played an important part in my life for the last twenty years.  My free time is spent researching Rakı and Türkü  [Turkish folk music] –  I am quite an expert on both!”

Ali Ihsan has done a lot of work over the years marking the Lycian Way and guiding walking groups.  He’s currently involved in a project to regenerate the wild pistachio tree which grows in this area – the gum can be chewed, like chewing gum, and is also used in medicine.

Recently, he has been working with children in some of the outlying villages to teach them about their local area and wildlife to raise appreciation of the natural environment and in the hopes that some of them may be able to use their skills to guide and inform tourists and visitors.

So, if you need a walking guide or find an obscure animal in need of rescue you could do worse than give Ali Ihsan a call on 0532 524 9395 and he has a website: www.trekkinglikya.com

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