A female monk seal, called Argiro by the locals, was repeatedly seen on beaches of Samos island in 2014 and 2015,[45] and two were reported in April 2016. [59], Damage inflicted on fishermen's nets and rare attacks on off-shore fish farms in Turkey and Greece are known to have pushed local people towards hunting the Mediterranean monk seal, but mostly out of revenge, rather than population control. THE ENDANGERED MEDITERRANEAN MONK SEAL Monachus monachus IN THE IONIAN SEA, GREECE Aliki Panou, Jtirgen Jacobs & Dimitris Panos Zoologisches 1nstitut, Universitdt Mfinchen, Seidlstrasse 25, D-8000 Mfinchen 2, Germany (Received 6 March 1991; revised version received 30 March 1992; accepted 14 May 1992) Abstract The declining population of monk seals on the Ionian … The coastal caves are, however, dangerous for newborns, and are causes of major mortality among pups when sea storms hit the caves. The monk seals go in the secluded caves of Zakynthos to give birth to their youth. One of the first coins, coined around the year 500 bc, represented the head of a monk seal, and the creatures were immortalized in the writings of Homer, Plutarch, and Aristotle. As there are indications of small population increases in the subpopulations, as of 2015, the Mediterranean monk seal's IUCN conservation status has been updated from critically endangered to endangered in keeping with the IUCN's speed-of-decline criteria, with a recommendation for re-assessment in 2020.[1]. It was named Eomonachus belegaerensis (dawn monk seal from Belegaer - the sea west of J.R.R. [50], On 26 April 2016, two monk seals were spotted at the municipal baths area of Paphos, Cyprus. In the week of 22–28 April 2013, what is believed to have been a monk seal was viewed in Tyre, southern Lebanon; photographs have been reported among many local media. The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) is a monk seal belonging to the family Phocidae. We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience and to analyze site traffic. [23], In June 2009, there was a report of a sighting off the island of Giglio, in Italy. In females the stripe is usually rectangular in shape whereas in males it is usually butterfly shaped. According to recent studies, biologists believe … Very little is known of this seal's reproduction. Soon after, it showed signs of weakness and it was taken to a rehabilitation centre to try to save it. The Environment and Urbanization Minister of Turkey announced on 18 November 2019 that a plan was proposed to further preserve the species to allow the sub species of Foça, Gökova, Datça and Bozburun to increase in numbers.[64]. [49], On 10 April 2016, a monk seal was spotted and photographed by a group of foreign exchange students and local bio-engineers in a creek in Manavgat District in Turkey's southern Antalya Province. This earless seal's former range extended throughout the Northwest Atlantic Africa, Mediterranean and Black Sea coastlines, including all offshore islands of the Mediterranean, and into the Atlantic and its islands: Canary, Madeira, Ilhas Desertas, Porto Santo... as far west as the Azores. Monk seals are part of the mammalian group of carnivores named Pinnipedia, which includes all the species of seals, sea lions and walrus. Pregnant Mediterranean monk seals typically use inaccessible undersea caves while giving birth, though historical descriptions show they used open beaches until the 18th century. Mediterranean monk seals are diurnal and feed on a variety of fish and mollusks, primarily octopus, squid, and eels, up to 3 kg per day. As well, if a female determines that her environment is not a safe one, she can initiate an abortion, indirectly lowering the population. As of 2020, it's thought that there are roughly 500 pairs of monk seals remaining in the world. Vagrants could be found as far south as Gambia and the Cape Verde islands, and as far north as continental Portugal and Atlantic France. As of 2015[update], it is estimated that fewer than 700 individuals survive in three or four isolated subpopulations in the Mediterranean, (especially) in the Aegean Sea, the archipelago of Madeira and the Cabo Blanco area in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean. [62] Oil companies apparently may have been using the monk seal sanctuary project as a stalking horse to encourage greater cooperation between the Greek and Turkish governments as a preliminary to pushing for oil extraction rights in a geopolitically unstable area. A new seal species, ancestor to today's monk seals, was discovered by fossil researchers in N. Zealand, changing the current theory that seals originate from the northern hemisphere. Mediterranean Monk Seal in the Eastern Atlantic. Do you like [47], On 13 August 2015, ten monk seals were spotted in Governor's Beach, Limassol, Cyprus. [54], In early 2018 a mother and her pup were spotted around Paphos Harbour in Cyprus. The seals are fed with fish and other seafood. [3] It is believed to be the world's rarest pinniped species.[1]. This turned out to be the body of a female monk seal known to have been resident there for some time. In 2009, for the first time in centuries, a female delivered her pup on the beach (open beaches is the optimal habitat for the survival of pups, but had been abandoned due to human disturbance and persecution in past centuries). Tolkien). [56], On 15 March 2019, a monk seal was spotted and photographed by a group of citizens at a marina in Kuşadası. [4] Data analysis indicates that only 29% of pups born between September and January survive. Monachus monachus) is one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world, with a few hundred animals remaining. Although the largest marina park of the monk seal is located in the Sporades, particularly north of Alonissos island, many seals can also be found around the coastline of Zakynthos. [25] In addition, the seal was also sighted a couple of weeks later in the northern kibbutz of Rosh Hanikra.[26]. The monk seals Monachus-Monachus are thought to be among the rarest mammal species of the world. As recently as the 16th century, there were enough Mediterranean monk seals to fuel a commercial harvest. The exact location was not communicated so as to keep the site protected. The Mediterranean Monk seal prefers rocky and inaccessible shores on the islands or adjacent areas, and are thus found on the Sporades, NW Cyclades, Ionion and Dodecanese islands. The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) is currently one of the most endangered marine mammals on Earth with fewer than 700 individuals estimated to survive in the wild. [15] Also in 2016, a new record of births was set for the colony (83 pups). Greeka team and its community members will be delighted to help you! The flippers are relatively short, with small slender claws. [22], Only by 2016 the colony had recovered to its previous population (about 300 animals). During other months of the year, pups have an estimated survival rate of 71%. Because they will stay with the pups to nurse and protect, they use their stored fat reserves to nurse. On 7 January 2010, fishermen spotted an injured Mediterranean monk seal off the coasts of Tel Aviv, Israel. In Sardinia the Mediterranean monk seal was last sighted in May 2007 and April 2010. According to Johnson, the Greek secret service, the YPEA, were against such moves and sabotaged the project to the detriment of both the seals and conservationists, who, unaware of such covert motivations, sought only to protect the species and its habitat. Countries: Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Israel, Greece and Turkey. They live only in clean, non-polluted waters, so the presence of the Monachus monachus seal in Greece is an indication of the health of the sea environment and part of its rich biodiversity. The main goal of the proposed project, which is led by MOm/Hellenic Society for the Study … [14], Nowadays, its entire population is estimated to be less than 700 individuals widely scattered, which qualifies this species as endangered. [citation needed], On 20 July 2019, a monk seal was spotted in Protaras bay area in Cyprus .[58]. Even if considered as one, the reality is that this population is the sum of an unknown number of isolated subpopulations. The means reasons for their extinction are the accidents caused by boats and the lack of food due to pollution. In ancient Greece, monk seals were placed under the protection of Poseidon and Apollo because they showed a great love for sea and sun. Even though responsible scuba diving instructors hesitate to make trips to known seal caves, the rumor of a seal sighting quickly becomes a tourist attraction for many. The MoU covers four range States (Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal and Spain), all of which have signed, and aims at providing a legal and institutional framework for the implementation of the Action Plan for the Recovery of the Mediterranean Monk Seal in the Eastern Atlantic. The Mediterranean Monk Seal was first described by Aristotle in the third century B.C. [36] In summer 2014 sightings in Pula have occurred almost daily and monk seal stayed multiple times on crowded city beaches, sleeping calm for hours just few meters away from humans. [52], On 3 November 2016, a monk seal was spotted at the coast of Gialousa in Cyprus. The name comes from the folds of the neck that remind the monk robes or from its round head covered with short hairs, giving it the appearance of a medieval friar. [1][5][6][7] They are thought to live up to 45 years old;[5] the average life span is thought to be 20 to 25 years old and reproductive maturity is reached at around age four. This was the first sighting of the species in the region since Lebanese authorities claimed to have found a population of 10–20 other seals on their coasts 70 years earlier. [48], On 6 January 2016, a monk seal climbed aboard a parked boat in Kuşadası. [12], Pups make first contact with the water two weeks after their birth and are weaned at around 18 weeks of age; females caring for pups will go off to feed for an average of nine hours. The main subpopulations of the species exist in the Atlantic Ocean and in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, mainly in Greece. [57], On 26 March 2019, a young monk seal and a mature one 1.5 meter were sighted in Vlora, Albania, in the Ionian sea. [27] In November 2010, a Mediterranean monk seal, supposedly aged between 10 and 20, had been spotted in Bodrum, Turkey. And more? In April 2010, there was a report of a sighting off the island of Marettimo, in the Egadi Islands off the coast of Italy, in Trapani Province. This species of seal grows from approximately 80 centimetres (2.6 ft) long at birth up to an average of 2.4 metres (7.9 ft) as adults, females slightly shorter than males. [32], On 24 June 2011, the Blue World Institute of Croatia [33] filmed an adult female underwater in the northern Adriatic, off the island of Cres and a specimen of unverified sex on 29 June 2012. The habitat of this pinniped has changed over the years. MOm/Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal, Athens, Greece. [55], In November 2018, a young monk seal was spotted at the coast of Karavostasi in Cyprus, only to be found dead at the same area a few days later. In ancient Greece, the Mediterranean monk seals were placed under the protection of Poseidon and Apollo because they showed a great love for the sea and the Sun. Because of these seals' shy nature and sensitivity to human disturbance, they have slowly adapted to try to avoid contact with humans completely within the last century, and, perhaps, even earlier. [46], On 7 April 2015, a large floating "fish" was reported near Raouche, Beirut in Lebanon, and collected by a local fisherman. Monk seal survival seems to be very dependent on the existence of suitable pupping caves. [11], In 2008, lactation was reported in an open beach, the first such record since 1945, which could suggest the seal could begin feeling increasingly safe to return to open beaches for breeding purposes in Cabo Blanco. After the first moulting the coat is usually (dark) brown or grey with the belly a lighter colour, sometimes with a large white patch. Damage inflicted on fishermen's nets and rare attacks on off-shore fish farms in Turkey and Greeceare known to have pushed local people towards hunting the Mediterranean monk seal, but mostly out of revenge, rather than population control. [34] On 2 May 2013 a specimen was seen on the southernmost point of Istrian peninsula near the town of Pula. On 27 January 2020, a young monk seal was spotted in Apulia. [9] The gestation period lasts close to a year. There may be some individuals using coastal areas among other parts of Western Sahara, such as in Cintra Bay.