The Mediterranean monk seal is catalogued as endangered by the IUCN Redlist and its estimated population worldwide is of less than 700 animals. Greece, Cyprus and Turkey still maintain breeding populations, with around 350-450 individuals. It is the worlds most threatened seal species.
Coordinated by IUCN Med, this project aims to improve the knowledge of the population of the Mediterranean monk seal at the eastern Mediterranean, monitoring their populations, contributing to the identification of critical habitat and creating conservation actions that would mitigate the negative interactions between fishermen and the species. Including bycatch and predation of fishing nets.
Photo: Monk Seal Pup (Credit: Olkan Erguler)
Through the project in Northern Cyprus, the following actions have been taken:
Much awareness has been raised by the project actions and subsequently SPOT began to receive regular public sighting records and have been able to identify and track some individuals from this citizen science network.
A second phase project is now being supported by Monk Seal Alliance, again, under the coordination of IUCN Med. Here, further monitoring will be supported, as well as actions to improve conditions at specific caves. There will also be a focus on policy, awareness raising and education.
Photo Credit: Olkan Ergüler
Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal (MOm)
Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR)
CBD-Habitat - Monk seal conservation programme
Middle East Technical University (METU)
Society for Protection of Turtles (SPOT)
Enalia Physis Environmental Research Centre