THE RETURN OF THE MOST ENDANGERED SEAL ON EARTH
The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) is the most iconic species of the Mediterranean Sea. Yet also, it is one of the most endangered marine mammals on earth.
The Eastern Adriatic Monk Seal Project has been developed in collaboration with and the support of the EuroNatur Foundation, aiming to expand the knowledge base and experience that MOm / The Hellenic Society for the Study & Protection of the Monk Seal has acquired in Greece for the past 30 years in the protection of the Mediterranean Monk Seal to other national NGO’s from Albania, Croatia & Montenegro, in order to cover the entire eastern Adriatic coast, where this rare species has started to re-appear during the past few years.
The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) is the most iconic species of the Mediterranean Sea. Yet also, it is one of the most endangered marine mammals on earth. According to the IUCN Red List (2015) it is considered as “endangered”. Perse- cution throughout the centuries has led to its disappearance from the biggest part of its range. The pupping and resting habitat (i.e. marine caves) is threatened by human activities such as tourism development and urbanization, resulting in habitat deterio- ration, destruction and fragmentation.
Monk seals are part of the mammalian group of carnivores named Pinnipedia, which includes all the species of seals, sea lions and walrus. The first seals appeared on the face of the earth approximately 20 million years ago. But, before evolving into top marine predators, the ancestors of seals used to live on land and were carnivores. Seals are therefore considered to be closely related to some terrestrial carnivores, such as bears! As indicated by the name Pinnipedia, these animals have flippers instead of legs which are well adapted to the needs of their aquatic life.