25 October 2008

New Mediterranean monk seal breeding colony in the Aegean Sea, Greece

An island previously reserved for military use turned out to be a safe heaven for the endangered Mediterranean monk seal. Three out of the eight caves are suitable for pupping and in 2004 ten pups were identified, four in 2005 and seven in 2007.

Being off limits for all but the military, the beaches of this island provided a safe place for mothers and pups to rest, a behavior that has not been observed in this species in the Mediterranean Sea recently.

This newly discovered colony, with relatively high natality compared to other breeding sites in the Mediterranean Sea and the rare use of open beaches, is of outstanding conservation value and is in urgent need of effective protection.

Eleonora De Sabata

Illustration: distribution of Mediterranean monk seal, from Monachus Guardian

For more information:

Dendrinos D., A.A. Karamanlidis, S. Kotomatas, V. Paravas, S. Adamantopoulou. 2008. Report of a new Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) breeding colony in the Aegean Sea, Greece. Aquatic Mammals 34(3):355-361.

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