The Mediterranean Monk Seal (Greece, 2018 – 2020) The Mediterranean monk seal is on the “endangered species” section of the IUCN’s red list since 1986. All the other remaining subpopulations are composed of less than 50 mature individuals, many of them being only loose groups of extremely reduced size – often less than five individuals.[1]. - See 12 traveler reviews, 15 candid photos, and great deals for Alonnisos, Greece, at Tripadvisor. Irresponsible scuba diving trips scare the seals away from caves which could become habitation for the species. 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. Tolkien). Monk seals have two pairs of retractable abdominal teats, unlike most other pinnipeds. 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). Vagrants could be found as far south as Gambia and the Cape Verde islands, and as far north as continental Portugal and Atlantic France. [1], Some seals have survived in the Sea of Marmara,[13] but the last report of a seal in the Black Sea dates to 1997. They are light grey or brown in color and they do not live in herbs, but individually. The flippers are relatively short, with small slender claws. On 27 January 2020, a young monk seal was spotted in Apulia. It weighed approximately 200-250kg, measured 2.5 metres in length, … The legislation in Greece is very strict towards seal hunting, and in general, the public is very much aware and supportive of the effort for the preservation of the Mediterranean monk seal. MOm/Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal, Athens, Greece. Değirmenci Ö.. Gücü C.A.. 2014. Although they commonly feed in shallow coastal waters, they are also known to forage at depths up to 250 meters, with an average depth varying between specimens. Monk seal survival seems to be very dependent on the existence of suitable pupping caves. [48], On 6 January 2016, a monk seal climbed aboard a parked boat in Kuşadası. [27] In November 2010, a Mediterranean monk seal, supposedly aged between 10 and 20, had been spotted in Bodrum, Turkey. The legislation in Greece is very strict towards seal hunting, and in general, the public is very much aware and supportive of the effort for the preservation of the Mediterranean monk seal. 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 … This marine mammal has been hunting in Mare Nostrum since the Antiquity. Even if considered as one, the reality is that this population is the sum of an unknown number of isolated subpopulations. Our services are rated On 15 December 2020, a monk seal was spotted and videotaped while seated on a sun lounger in Samos Island, Greece. Monachus monachus) is one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world, with a few hundred animals remaining. Cutler J. Cleveland (Washington, DC: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment), images and movies of the Mediterranean monk seal, Hellenic Society for the study and protection of the monk seal, Turkish National Action Plan for the Preservation of the Mediterranean Monk Seal, Mediterranean monk seal factsheet at the United Nations Environment Programme – World Conservation Monitoring Centre, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Mediterranean_monk_seal&oldid=994524788, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles containing potentially dated statements from 2015, All articles containing potentially dated statements, Articles with unsourced statements from December 2017, Articles needing additional references from January 2016, All articles needing additional references, Articles with unsourced statements from April 2019, Articles with unsourced statements from August 2010, Srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Peter Saundry. They are the only earless seals found in tropical climates. (2010) C Michael Hogan (Topic Editor), This page was last edited on 16 December 2020, at 04:25. The seals are fed with fish and other seafood. [52], On 3 November 2016, a monk seal was spotted at the coast of Gialousa in Cyprus. A study describing the discovery of a hitherto unknown colony of the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal in Greece [53], On 13 June 2017, a specimen was spotted and photographed by a group of fishermen off the coasts of Tricase in the south of Italy. In November 2014, an adult monk seal was reportedly seen inside the port of Limassol, Cyprus. In the Aegean Sea, Greece has allocated a large area for the preservation of the Mediterranean monk seal and its habitat. Monk seals are earless seals of the tribe Monachini. Scuba divers, tourists and fishermen are increasingly invading the remotest spots. Greeka team and its community members will be delighted to help you! Unlike other seal species that have weaning periods of mere days, the weaning period for a Mediterranean monk seal is around four months. 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]. [10] Scientists have suggested that they are polygynous, with males being very territorial where they mate with females. Read reviews about our services. [18][19][20], Colonies on the Pelagie Islands (Linosa and Lampedusa) were destroyed by fishermen, which likely resulted in local extinction.[21]. Believed to have the shortest hair of any pinniped, the Mediterranean monk seal fur is black (males) or brown to dark grey (females), with a paler belly, which is close to white in males. There are fewer than 500 remaining in the wild today and most of them are in the waters around Greece’s northern Aegean islands. [47], On 13 August 2015, ten monk seals were spotted in Governor's Beach, Limassol, Cyprus. They are successful bottom-feeding hunters; some have even been observed lifting slabs of rock in search of prey. Repor… The Mediterranean monk seal is catalogued as endangered by the IUCN and its estimated population worldwide is of less than 700 animals. Το όνομα που δόθηκε στην προϊστορική αυτή φώκια είναι Eomonachus belegaerensis (dawn monk seal from Belegaer - η θάλασσα δυτικά της Μέσης Γης του Άρχοντα των Δαχτυλιδιών του J.R.R. Coastal fisheries is a traditional economic activity in Greece and plays a key role in maintaining the economic and social cohesion of … Where to stay? 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. 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. [1] Monk seals were present at Snake Island until the 1950s, and several locations such as the Danube Plavni Nature Reserve [ru] and Doğankent were the last known hauling-out sites post-1990. On their bellies, there is a white stripe, which differs in color and shape between the two sexes. The legislation in Greece is very strict towards seal hunting, and in general, the public is very much aware and supportive of the effort for the preservation of the Mediterranean monk seal. The Mediterranean Monk Seal was first described by Aristotle in the third century B.C. [23], In June 2009, there was a report of a sighting off the island of Giglio, in Italy. Possible reasons for the animal's appearance included better opportunities for hunting, as well as higher salinity levels due to lower water levels. [15], However, the threat of a similar incident, which could severely reduce or wipe out the entire population, remains. Greece is currently investigating the possibility of declaring another monk seal breeding site as a national park, and also has integrated some sites in the NATURA 2000 protection scheme. Tolkien's Middle Earth from Lord of the Rings). Preservation efforts have been put forth by civil organizations, foundations, and universities in both countries since as early as the 1970s. [61] MOm is greatly involved in raising awareness in the general public, fundraising for the helping of the monk seal preservation cause, in Greece and wherever needed. The habitat of this pinniped has changed over the years. The Mediterranean Monk Seal (scient. However, it is believed to be common among monk seals of the Cabo Blanco colony to have a gestation period lasting slightly longer than a year. [34] On 2 May 2013 a specimen was seen on the southernmost point of Istrian peninsula near the town of Pula. 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. Numbers in this all-important location started a slow-paced recovery ever since. 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. Habitat destruction, pollution of sea waters and overfishing are challenging the survival of the monk seal. [28] On 31 December 2010, the BBC Earth news[29] reported that the MOM Hellenic Society[30] had located a new colony of seals on a remote beach in the Aegean Sea. [3] It is believed to be the world's rarest pinniped species.[1]. And more? Members of the Israel Marine Mammal Research and Assistance Center arrived at the scene and tried to locate the injured mammal, but with no success. Frequently their caves have underwater entries and many caves are positioned along remote or rugged coastlines. After the first moulting the coat is usually (dark) brown or grey with the belly a lighter colour, sometimes with a large white patch. [51], On 18 October 2016, a monk seal was captured on video around Gulf of Kuşadası. [25] In addition, the seal was also sighted a couple of weeks later in the northern kibbutz of Rosh Hanikra.[26]. 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. [9]. Eds. There may be some individuals using coastal areas among other parts of Western Sahara, such as in Cintra Bay. [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. According to recent studies, biologists believe … The monk seals go in the secluded caves of Zakynthos to give birth to their youth. Preservation efforts have been put forth by civil organizations, foundations, and universities in both countries since as early as the 1970s. [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. For the past 10 years , many groups have carried out missions to educate locals on damage control and species preservation. Countries: Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Israel, Greece and Turkey. The monk seals' pups are about 1 metre (3.3 ft) long and weigh around 15–18 kilograms (33–40 lb), their skin being covered by 1–1.5 centimeter-long, dark brown to black hair. [50], On 26 April 2016, two monk seals were spotted at the municipal baths area of Paphos, Cyprus. The newly-born seal stays in the cave for two weeks before it gets into the sea. [4] Males begin to breed at age six. [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. Very little is known of this seal's reproduction. [46], On 7 April 2015, a large floating "fish" was reported near Raouche, Beirut in Lebanon, and collected by a local fisherman. Preservation of the species requires both the preservation of land and sea, due to the need for terrestrial haul-out sites and caves or caverns for the animal to rest and reproduce. [1], Several causes provoked a dramatic population decrease over time: on one hand, commercial hunting (especially during the Roman Empire and Middle Ages) and, during the 20th century, eradication by fishermen, who used to consider it a pest due to the damage the seal causes to fishing nets when it preys on fish caught in them; and, on the other hand, coastal urbanization and pollution. On 7 January 2010, fishermen spotted an injured Mediterranean monk seal off the coasts of Tel Aviv, Israel. The Monachus Monachus Monk Seal in Zakynthos: Apart from the sea turtle Caretta-Caretta, another important species that is found in the water of Zakynthos is the Mediterranean monk seal. The society was appealing to the Greek government to integrate the part of the island on which the seals live into a marine protected area. [37][38] To prevent accidents and preserve monk seal, local city council acquired special educational boards and installed on city beaches. ", The recovery of the Mediterranean monk seal in the Atlantic, "Mediterranean Monk Seal Fact Files: Overview", "Avvistato Esemplare Di Foca Monaca A Giglio Campese | Isola-Del-Giglio | News", "Critically endangered seal spotted off Israel coast - Israel News", "כלב ים נזירי - מין נדיר ביותר - נצפה שוב בחופי ישראל, הפעם בנהריה - מדע וסביבה - הארץ", "La foca monaca torna dopo 50 anni - Corriere della Sera", "Sredozemna medvjedica snimljena uz zapadnu obalu Cresa - Monk seal observed and filmed on Cres, 24.6.2011. on Vimeo", "Sredozemna medvjedica na Cresu, 29.6.2012", "Sredozemna medvjedica na Galebovim stijenama, 2.5.2013", "Snimili ljepoticu kraj Pule: 'Kao da nas je sve doÅ¡la pozdraviti, "Turiste ne dira Å¡to ne smiju uznemiravati sredozemnu medvjedicu, opkolili je na plaži", "Sredozemna medvjedica doÅ¡la među kupače i malo odmorila", "Postavljena edukativna tabla o sredozemnoj medvjedici", "Objavljena snimka: Makedonski ilegalac uznemiravao sredozemnu medvjedicu na plaži u Puli", "Uginula Sredozemna medvjedica-VIDEO I FOTO", "Your Gibraltar TV 'Seal Spotted at Coaling Island, "فقمة صور الشهيرة احبت مياه المدينة وأهلها فعادت", "Soddisfazione di Legambiente per il ritorno della foca monaca alle Egadi: "un evento unico in Italia ed eccezionale nel Mediterraneo, "بعد قتل زوجته وابنته "راهب" الدالية وحيداً", Kuşadası'nda limana bağlı tekneye fok çıktı, Rare monk seal spotted by students in Antalya (Hurriyet Daily News, 11 April 2016), Nesli tükenen fok Kuşadası'ndan çıktı, Yeni Erenköy'de Akdeniz foku görüntülendi, Kuşadası’nda 15 ay aradan sonra Akdeniz foku görüldü, https://twitter.com/RinChupeco/status/1338636593427607553?s=19, "New plan to protect monk seals in Turkish waters being introduced", "Mediterranean monk seal" Encyclopedia of Earth. MO m (2005) Status Report of the Mediterranean Monk Seal Populations in Kimolos-Polyaigos and Karpathos-Saria Areas. A small but incipient (up to 20 animals by 2009) sub-population in the area had started using open beaches. [4] Data analysis indicates that only 29% of pups born between September and January survive. Because they will stay with the pups to nurse and protect, they use their stored fat reserves to nurse. [41], In 2012, a Mediterranean monk seal, was spotted in Gibraltar on the jetty of the private boat owners club at Coaling Island.[42]. Although mating will take place in the water, females will give birth and care for the pups on beaches or underwater caves. [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. But, before evolving into top marine predators, the ancestors of seals used to live on land and were carnivores. Reports of positive results of such efforts exist throughout the area.[60]. [1] Most female individuals are believed to reach maturity at four years of age unto which they will begin to breed. As the Monk Seal is a top predator, its existence is linked to the health of sea. Scientists have confirmed this is a recent adaptation, most likely due to the rapid increase in human population, tourism, and industry, which have caused increased disturbance by humans and the destruction of the species' natural habitat. Often these caves are inaccessible to humans. [1] Monk seals prefer hunting in wide-open spaces, enabling them to use their speed more effectively. [15] Also in 2016, a new record of births was set for the colony (83 pups). Do you have a question about Greece and the Greek islands? In 1986, the Prefecture of Magnesia signed the first resolution aiming to the protection of the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) and its natural habitat. In 1992, the area was finally declared a "National Marine Park". This turned out to be the body of a female monk seal known to have been resident there for some time. The females are in general rather smaller. It is thought that there are as few as 400 adult Mediterranean monk seals remaining globally, mainly in a small fragment of their original range between Turkey and Greece. The Greek Alonissos Marine Park, that extends around the Northern Sporades islands, is the main action ground of the Greek MOm organisation. [24] 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. Greece is currently investigating the possibility of declaring another monk seal breeding site as a national park, and also has integrated some sites in the NATURA 2000 protection scheme. The species status is virtually moribund in the western Mediterranean, which still holds tiny Moroccan and Algerian populations, associated with rare sightings of vagrants in the Balearic Islands,[17] Sardinia, and other western Mediterranean locations, including Gibraltar. The monk seals Monachus-Monachus are thought to be among the rarest mammal species of the world. Under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), also known as the Bonn Convention, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) concerning Conservation Measures for the Eastern Atlantic Populations of the Mediterranean Monk Seal was concluded and came into effect on 18 October 2007. In ancient times, and up until the 20th century, Mediterranean monk seals had been known to congregate, give birth, and seek refuge on open beaches. These efforts were followed by a series of ministerial decisions on the protection of the local nature reserve. [54], In early 2018 a mother and her pup were spotted around Paphos Harbour in Cyprus. 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. One of the first coins, minted around 500 BC, depicted the head of a monk seal, and the creatures were immortalized in the writings of Homer, Plutarch and Aristotle. [14], Nowadays, its entire population is estimated to be less than 700 individuals widely scattered, which qualifies this species as endangered. The Mediterranean Monk Seal, Monachus monachus, is a rare marine mammal which’s most important population is found in Greece. It was named Eomonachus belegaerensis (dawn monk seal from Belegaer - the sea west of J.R.R. For the past 10 years[citation needed], many groups have carried out missions to educate locals on damage control and species preservation. The whole event was filmed. One is the Aegean Sea (250–300 animals in Greece, with the largest concentration of animals in Gyaros island,[3] and some 100 in Turkey); the other important subpopulation is in the Atlantic Ocean, in the Western Saharan portion of Cabo Blanco (around 270 individuals which may support the small, but growing, nucleus in the Desertas Islands – approximately 30-40 individuals[15]). There are eight pairs of teeth in both jaws. The Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal, MOm, tasked with the researching and helping to protect the precious seal population, has its headquarters oalong the Patitiri waterfront. This was made possible by a recovery plan financed by Spain. As recently as the 16th century, there were enough Mediterranean monk seals to fuel a commercial harvest. On 8 March 2011, the BBC Earth news[31] reported that a pup seal had been spotted on 7 February while monitoring a seal colony on an island in the southwestern Aegean Sea. The newly-born seal stays in the cave for two weeks before it gets into the sea. The coastal caves are, however, dangerous for newborns, and are causes of major mortality among pups when sea storms hit the caves. Greece, Cyprus and Turkey still maintain a large population of the species, with around 350-450 individuals. As of 2020, it's thought that there are roughly 500 pairs of monk seals remaining in the world. [44] In September and October 2013, there were a number of sightings of an adult pair in waters around RAF Akrotiri in British Sovereign Base waters in Cyprus. Pregnant Mediterranean monk seals typically use inaccessible undersea caves while giving birth, though historical descriptions show they used open beaches until the 18th century. 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. The main subpopulations of the species exist in the Atlantic Ocean and in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, mainly in Greece. [8] This hair is replaced after six to eight weeks by the usual short hair adults carry. [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. One cause of this low survival rate is the timing of high surf around the areas of breeding, creating a threat to young pups. In ancient Greece, monk seals were placed under the protection of Poseidon and Apollo because they showed a great love for sea and sun. Final report to EC LIFE–Nature 2000 Project (LIFE00NAT/GR/7248). [35] On 9 September 2013, in Pula a male specimen swam to a busy beach and entertained numerous tourists for five minutes before swimming back to the open sea. [56], On 15 March 2019, a monk seal was spotted and photographed by a group of citizens at a marina in Kuşadası. Experts said it was natural death caused by her old age. Soon after, it showed signs of weakness and it was taken to a rehabilitation centre to try to save it. Do you like Inanmaz E.Ö.. The means reasons for their extinction are the accidents caused by boats and the lack of food due to pollution. The Monk seal population in Greece has been estimated to number 200 - 250, representing approximately 90% of the European population of the species. [22], Only by 2016 the colony had recovered to its previous population (about 300 animals). Monk seals are part of the mammalian group of carnivores named Pinnipedia, which includes all the species of seals, sea lions and walrus. The group has taken initiative in joint preservation efforts together with the Foça municipal officials, as well as phone, fax, and email hotlines for sightings.[63]. Top Greek islands & Mainland Destinations, Most popular Greek islands & mainland destinations. Undisturbed sandy beaches and rocky coastal cliffs and grottos have become rare in their entire area of distribution. The use of underwater caves may have began in order to make predatory actions almost impossible as these caves are difficult to access. Its name derives from its appearance that resembles the hood of catholic monks. Greece is currently investigating the possibility of declaring another monk seal breeding site as a national park, and also has integrated some sites in the NATURA 2000 protection scheme. 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