Blog Tags: Mediterranean Monk Seal
The Mediterranean monk seal, like its cousin the Hawaiian monk seal, is one of the most endangered mammals in the world.
Estimates suggest that they number around 400 total, with the largest populations in Greece and Morocco. Mediterranean monk seals are larger than their Hawaiian relatives, and unlike most seals, their pups are born with black fur.
Mediterranean monk seals are not migratory and can usually be found in small groups or alone. They eat primarily fish and cephalopods, and they can communicate about dangers using high-pitched noises.
Pregnant seals used to give birth on beaches, but due to habitat loss they now typically do so in sea caves, which are more protected. At about one week old, Mediterranean monk seal pups enter the water for the first time. Only about half of pups survive their first two months.
Among Mediterranean monk seals, both long-term fostering and milk-stealing are common between unrelated mothers and pups. However, mothers and pups remain together for as long as three years.
Mediterranean monk seals have a long history -- they even appeared on coins around 500 BC. Beginning in the 15th century, they were heavily hunted for skin and oil. Now, fishermen often kill Mediterranean monk seals, either in an attempt to eliminate fishing competitors or accidentally, as bycatch.
- Ocean News: Cape Cod Embraces Shark Spottings, Rare White Southern Right Whale Calf Spotted off Australia, and More Posted Tue, July 29, 2014
- No-Take Zones in Belize Could Rebuild Conch, Lobster, and Grouper Populations Posted Tue, July 29, 2014
- Impacts of Climate Change on Highly Migratory Species Prioritized in NMFS Management Plan Posted Tue, July 29, 2014
- Ocean News: Regulators Propose Whale Sanctuary in the Canary Islands, Harbor Seals Found to Forage around Wind Farms, and More Posted Thu, July 24, 2014
- Ocean News: Climate Change Threatens Red Knots, Pacific Island Leaders Meet to Discuss Ocean Conservation, and More Posted Wed, July 30, 2014