Mediterranean monk seal

The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) is a monk seal belonging to the family Phocidae. As of 2015, it is estimated that fewer than 700 individuals survive in three or four isolated subpopulations in the Mediterranean, (especially) in the Aegean Sea, the archipelago of Madeira and the Cabo Blanco area in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean.[2] It is believed to be the world's rarest pinniped species.[1]

Mediterranean monk seal
Monachus monachus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Clade: Pinnipedia
Family: Phocidae
Genus: Monachus
Fleming, 1822
M. monachus
Binomial name
Monachus monachus
(Hermann, 1779)


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. Males weigh an average of 320 kilograms (710 lb) and females weigh 300 kilograms (660 lb), with overall weight ranging from 240–400 kilograms (530–880 lb).[1][3][4][5] They are thought to live up to 45 years old;[3] the average life span is thought to be 20 to 25 years old and reproductive maturity is reached at around age four.

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. On their bellies, there is a white stripe, which differs in color and shape between the two sexes. In females the stripe is usually rectangular in shape whereas in males it is usually butterfly shaped.[6] This hair is replaced after six to eight weeks by the usual short hair adults carry.[3]

Pregnant Mediterranean monk seals typically use inaccessible undersea caves while giving birth, though historical descriptions show they used open beaches until the 18th century. There are eight pairs of teeth in both jaws.

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. The snout is short broad and flat, with very pronounced, long nostrils that face upward, unlike their Hawaiian relative, which tend to have more forward nostrils. The flippers are relatively short, with small slender claws. Monk seals have two pairs of retractable abdominal teats, unlike most other pinnipeds.


Colonia de focas monje de Cabo Blanco (1945)
A colony on Cabo Blanco in 1945

Very little is known of this seal's reproduction. Scientists have suggested that they are polygynous, with males being very territorial where they mate with females. Although there is no breeding season since births take place year round, there is a peak in October and November. This is also the time when caves are prone to wash out due to high surf or storm surge, which causes high mortality rates among monk seal pups, especially at the key Cabo Blanco colony. According to the IUCN species factsheet, "pup survival is low; just under 50% survive their first two months to the onset of their moult, and most mortalities occurred in the first two weeks. Survival of pups born from September to January is 29%. This very low survival rate is associated with mortality caused by severe storms, and high swells and tides, but impoverished genetic variability and inbreeding may also be involved. Pups born during the rest of the year had a survival rate of 71%".

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.[7]

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.[1] Most individuals are believed to reach maturity at four years of age. The gestation period lasts close to a year. 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.


Mediterranean monk seals are diurnal and feed on a variety of fish and mollusks, primarily octopus, squid, and eels, up to 3 kg per day. They are known to forage at depths up to 250 meters, with an average depth varying between specimens.[1] Monk seals prefer hunting in wide-open spaces, enabling them to use their speed more effectively. They are successful bottom-feeding hunters; some have even been observed lifting slabs of rock in search of prey.


The habitat of this pinniped has changed over the years. 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. In more recent times, they have left their former habitat and now only use sea caves for these activities. Often these caves are inaccessible to humans. Often their caves have underwater entries and their caves are often positioned along remote or rugged coastlines.

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. 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. The coastal caves are, however, dangerous for newborns, and are causes of major mortality among pups when sea storms hit the caves.


This earless seal's former range extended throughout the Northwest Atlantic Africa, Mediterranean and Black Sea, coastlines, including all offshore islands of the Mediterranean, and into the Atlantic and its islands: Canary, Madeira, Ilhas Desertas, Porto Santo... as far west as the Azores. 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]

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.[1]

Some seals have survived in the Sea of Marmara,[8] but the last report of a seal in the Black Sea dates to 1997.[1] Monk seals were present at Snake Island until the 1950s, and several locations such as the Danube Plavni Nature Reserve and Doğankent were the last known hauling-out sites post-1990.[9]

Nowadays, its entire population is estimated to be less than 700 individuals widely scattered, which qualifies this species as endangered. Its current very sparse population is one more serious threat to the species, as it only has two key sites that can be deemed viable. One is the Aegean Sea (250–300 animals in Greece, with the largest concentration of animals in Gyaros island,[2] 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[10]). There may be some individuals using coastal areas among other parts of Western Sahara, such as in Cintra Bay.[11]

These two key sites are virtually in the extreme opposites of the species' distribution range, which makes natural population interchange between them impossible. 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]

Other remaining populations are in southwestern Turkey and the Ionian Sea (both in the eastern Mediterranean). 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,[12] Sardinia, and other western Mediterranean locations, including Gibraltar.

In Sardinia the Mediterranean monk seal was last sighted in May 2007 and April 2010. The increase of sightings in Sardinia suggests that the seal occasionally inhabits the Central Eastern Sardinian coasts, preserved since 1998 by the National Park of Golfo of Orosei.[13][14][15]

Colonies on the Pelagie Islands (Linosa and Lampedusa) were destroyed by fishermen, which likely resulted in local extinction.[16]

Cabo Blanco 1997 die off and recovery

Cabo Blanco, in the Atlantic Ocean, is the largest surviving single population of the species, and the only remaining site that still seems to preserve a colony structure.[1] In the summer of 1997, more than 200 animals[1] or two-thirds of its seal population were wiped out within two months, extremely compromising the species' viable population. While opinions on the precise causes of this epidemic remain divided between a morbilivirus or, more likely, a toxic algae bloom,[1] the mass die-off emphasized the precarious status of a species already regarded as critically endangered throughout its range.

Numbers in this all-important location started a slow-paced recovery ever since. A small but incipient (up to 20 animals by 2009) sub-population in the area had started using open beaches. 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).[17]

Only by 2016 the colony had recovered to its previous population (about 300 animals). This was made possible by a recovery plan financed by Spain.[10] Also in 2016, a new record of births was set for the colony (83 pups).[10]

However, the threat of a similar incident, which could severely reduce or wipe out the entire population, remains.[18]

Recent sightings

Mediterranean Monk Seal
On Coaling Island in September 2012, possibly the first record in the Strait of Gibraltar
Phoque Moine Monachus
On rocky shore at Serifos

In June 2009, there was a report of a sighting off the island of Giglio, in Italy.[19] On 7 January 2010, fishermen spotted an injured Mediterranean monk seal off the coasts of Tel Aviv, Israel. When zoo veterinarians arrived to help the seal, it had slipped back into the waters. 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. This was the first sighting of the species in the region since Lebanese authorities claimed to have found a population of 10–20 other seals on their coasts 70 years earlier.[20] In addition, the seal was also sighted a couple of weeks later in the northern kibbutz of Rosh Hanikra.[21]

In April 2010, there was a report of a sighting off the island of Marettimo, in the Egadi Islands off the coast of Italy, in Trapani Province.[22] In November 2010, a Mediterranean monk seal, supposedly aged between 10 and 20, had been spotted in Bodrum, Turkey.[23] On 31 December 2010, the BBC Earth news[24] reported that the MOM Hellenic Society[25] had located a new colony of seals on a remote beach in the Aegean Sea. The exact location was not communicated so as to keep the site protected. 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.

On 8 March 2011, the BBC Earth news [26] reported that a pup seal had been spotted on 7 February while monitoring a seal colony on an island in the southwestern Aegean Sea. Soon after, it showed signs of weakness and it was taken to a rehabilitation centre to try to save it. The aim is to release it back into the wild as soon as it is strong enough. In April 2011, a monk seal was spotted near the Egyptian coast after long absence of the species from the nation.[27]

On 24 June 2011, the Blue World Institute of Croatia [28] filmed an adult female underwater in the northern Adriatic, off the island of Cres and a specimen of unverified sex on 29 June 2012.[29] On 2 May 2013 a specimen was seen on the southernmost point of Istrian peninsula near the town of Pula.[30] 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.[31] In summer 2014 sightings in Pula have occurred almost daily and monk seal stayed multiple times on crowded city beaches, sleeping calm for hours just few meters away from humans.[32][33] To prevent accidents and preserve monk seal, local city council acquired special educational boards and installed on city beaches.[34] Despite clear instructions, an incident occurred with a tourist harassing a seal. The whole event was filmed.[35] Less than a month later on August 25, 2014 this female monk seal was found dead in the Mrtvi Puć bay near Šišan, Croatia. Experts said it was natural death caused by her old age.[36]

In 2012, a Mediterranean monk seal, was spotted in Gibraltar on the jetty of the private boat owners club at Coaling Island.[37]

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.[38] A study by the Italian Ministry of the Environment in 2013 confirmed the presence of monk seals in marine protected area in the Egadi Islands.[39] 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.

In November 2014, an adult monk seal was reportedly seen inside the port of Limassol, Cyprus. A female monk seal, called Argiro by the locals, was repeatedly seen on beaches of Samos island in 2014 and 2015,[40] and two were reported in April 2016.[41]

On 7 April 2015, a large floating "fish" was reported near Raouche, Beirut in Lebanon, and collected by a local fisherman. This turned out to be the body of a female monk seal known to have been resident there for some time. Further investigations revealed that she was pregnant with a pup.[42]

On 13 August 2015, ten monk seals was spotted in Governor's Beach, Limassol, Cyprus [43]

On 6 January 2016, a monk seal climbed aboard a parked boat in Kuşadası [44]

On April 10, 2016, a monk seal was spotted and photographed by a group of foreign exchange students and local bio-engineers in a creek in Manavgat District in Turkey's southern Antalya Province. According to the scientists involved in local projects to protect the animals, this was the first ever documented sighting of a monk seal swimming in a river. Possible reasons for the animal's appearance included better opportunities for hunting, as well as higher salinity levels due to lower water levels.[45]

On 26 April 2016 two monk seals was spotted at the municipal baths area of Paphos, Cyprus[46]

On 18 October 2016, a monk seal was captured on video around Gulf of Kuşadası [47]

On 3 November 2016 a monk seal was spotted at the coast of Gialousa in Cyprus[48]

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.[49]

On early 2018 a mother and her pup was spotted around Paphos Harbour in Cyprus.[50]

On early 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.[51]

On 15 March 2019, a specimen was spotted and photographed by a group of citizens at a marina in Kuşadası[52]


Phoque moine
A seal swims at Ras Nouadhibou

Damage inflicted on fishermen's nets and rare attacks on off-shore fish farms in Turkey and Greece are known to have pushed local people towards hunting the Mediterranean monk seal, but mostly out of revenge, rather than population control. Preservation efforts have been put forth by civil organizations, foundations, and universities in both countries since as early as the 1970s. For the past 10 years, many groups have carried out missions to educate locals on damage control and species preservation. Reports of positive results of such efforts exist throughout the area.[53]

In the Aegean Sea, Greece has allocated a large area for the preservation of the Mediterranean monk seal and its habitat. The Greek Alonissos Marine Park, that extends around the Northern Sporades islands, is the main action ground of the Greek MOm organisation.[54] 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. 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 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 complex politics concerning the covert opposition of the Greek government towards the protection to the monk seals in the eastern Aegean in the late 1970s is described in a book by William Johnson.[55] Oil companies apparently may have been using the monk seal sanctuary project as a stalking horse to encourage greater cooperation between the Greek and Turkish governments as a preliminary to pushing for oil extraction rights in a geopolitically unstable area. 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.

One of the largest groups among the foundations concentrating their efforts towards the preservation of the Mediterranean monk seal is the Mediterranean Seal Research Group (Turkish: Akdeniz Foklarını Araştırma Grubu) operating under the Underwater Research Foundation (Turkish: Sualtı Araştırmaları Derneği) in Turkey (also known as SAD-AFAG). 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.[56]

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. Even though responsible scuba diving instructors hesitate to make trips to known seal caves, the rumor of a seal sighting quickly becomes a tourist attraction for many. Irresponsible scuba diving trips scare the seals away from caves which could become habitation for the species.


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. The MoU covers four range States (Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal and Spain), all of which have signed, and aims at providing a legal and institutional framework for the implementation of the Action Plan for the Recovery of the Mediterranean Monk Seal in the Eastern Atlantic.

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]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Karamanlidis, A. & Dendrinos, P. (2015). "Monachus monachus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2015: e.T13653A45227543. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T13653A45227543.en.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b Karamanlidis, A.A.; et al. (April 2016). "The Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus: status, biology, threats, and conservation priorities". Mammal Review. 46 (2): 92–105. doi:10.1111/mam.12053.
  3. ^ a b c "MOm Website". Archived from the original on 2012-03-16. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  4. ^ "Mediterranean Monk Seal Fact Files: Biology: External appearance and anatomy". Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  5. ^ "Mediterranean Monk Seal (Monachus monachus) - Office of Protected Resources - NOAA Fisheries". 2005-11-18. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  6. ^ "Lobo marinho". The City of Funchal. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  7. ^ "Mediterranean Monk Seal News II - Monachus Guardian 11 (2): November 2008". Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  8. ^ Inanmaz E.Ö.. Değirmenci Ö.. Gücü C.A.. 2014. A new sighting of the Mediterranean Monk Seal, Monachus monachus (Hermann, 1779), in the Marmara Sea (Turkey). pp.278-280. Zoology in the Middle East. Volume 60, 2014 - Issue 3. The Taylor & Francis. Retrieved on March 28, 2017
  9. ^ Sergei R. Grinevetsky, Igor S. Zonn, Sergei S. Zhiltsov, Aleksey N. Kosarev, Andrey G. Kostianoy, 2014, The Black Sea Encyclopedia
  10. ^ a b c Vera, Eloy (22 December 2016). "La colonia de focas monje de Mauritania se ha triplicado desde su crisis de 1997". EFE Verde (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-01-08.
  11. ^ Tiwari M., Aksissou M., Semmoumy S., Ouakka K. (2006). Morocco Footprint Handbook. Footprint Travel Guides. p. 265. ISBN 9781907263316. Retrieved 2014-12-27.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  12. ^ "TMG Latest News: 20 June 2008". 2008-06-20. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  13. ^ Matteo Razzanelli (8 May 2007). "Sardegna: rispunta la foca monaca".
  14. ^ "Riavvistata la foca monaca in Sardegna".
  15. ^ "Gruppo d'Intervento Giuridico o.n.l.u.s."
  16. ^ A brief survey of Linosa island
  17. ^ The recovery of the Mediterranean monk seal in the Atlantic
  18. ^ "Mediterranean Monk Seal Fact Files: Overview". 1978-05-05. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  19. ^ "Avvistato Esemplare Di Foca Monaca A Giglio Campese | Isola-Del-Giglio | News". 2009-06-08. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  20. ^ Rinat, Zafrir (2010-01-08). "Critically endangered seal spotted off Israel coast - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper". Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  21. ^ צפריר רינת 20.01.2010 18:11 עודכן ב: 18:17 (2010-01-20). "כלב ים נזירי - מין נדיר ביותר - נצפה שוב בחופי ישראל, הפעם בנהריה - מדע וסביבה - הארץ". הארץ. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  22. ^ "La foca monaca torna dopo 50 anni - Corriere della Sera". Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  23. ^ "Bodrum'da fok müjdesi - Doğal Hayat". 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  24. ^ Gill, Victoria (31 December 2010). "Refuge of endangered seals found". BBC News.
  25. ^ "MOm Website". Archived from the original on 2012-10-31. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  26. ^ Gill, Victoria (7 March 2011). "Rare baby seal rescued in Greece". BBC News.
  27. ^ GIUSEPPE (2011). "Monk seal sightings in Egypt". Retrieved 2015-02-18.
  28. ^ from Blue World Institute 1 year ago (2011-06-26). "Sredozemna medvjedica snimljena uz zapadnu obalu Cresa - Monk seal observed and filmed on Cres, 24.6.2011. on Vimeo". Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  29. ^ "Sredozemna medvjedica na Cresu, 29.6.2012" (in Croatian). Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  30. ^ "Sredozemna medvjedica na Galebovim stijenama, 2.5.2013" (in Croatian). Retrieved 2013-05-03.
  31. ^ "Snimili ljepoticu kraj Pule: 'Kao da nas je sve došla pozdraviti'".
  32. ^ "Turiste ne dira što ne smiju uznemiravati sredozemnu medvjedicu, opkolili je na plaži".
  33. ^ "Sredozemna medvjedica došla među kupače i malo odmorila".
  34. ^ "Postavljena edukativna tabla o sredozemnoj medvjedici".
  35. ^ "Objavljena snimka: Makedonski ilegalac uznemiravao sredozemnu medvjedicu na plaži u Puli".
  36. ^ "Uginula Sredozemna medvjedica-VIDEO I FOTO".
  37. ^ "Your Gibraltar TV 'Seal Spotted at Coaling Island'". Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  38. ^ "فقمة صور الشهيرة احبت مياه المدينة وأهلها فعادت".
  39. ^ "Soddisfazione di Legambiente per il ritorno della foca monaca alle Egadi: "un evento unico in Italia ed eccezionale nel Mediterraneo"".
  40. ^ "SNews regarding seal Argiro".
  41. ^ Monk seals spotted in Paphos sea
  42. ^ "بعد قتل زوجته وابنته "راهب" الدالية وحيداً".
  43. ^ Monk seals spotted off Limassol
  44. ^ Kuşadası'nda limana bağlı tekneye fok çıktı
  45. ^ Rare monk seal spotted by students in Antalya (Hurriyet Daily News, April 11, 2016)
  46. ^ Monk seals spotted in Paphos sea
  47. ^ Nesli tükenen fok Kuşadası'ndan çıktı
  48. ^ Yeni Erenköy'de Akdeniz foku görüntülendi
  49. ^ Monk seal spotted off Tricase, Italy
  50. ^ Rare baby monk seal reunited with mother
  51. ^ Gemikonağı sahilinde Akdeniz Foku
  52. ^ Kuşadası’nda 15 ay aradan sonra Akdeniz foku görüldü
  53. ^ "WWF - Mediterranean monk seal project". Archived from the original on October 7, 2008. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  54. ^ "MOm Website". Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  55. ^ Johnson, William (1988-03-31). The Monk Seal Conspiracy. Heretic Books. ISBN 978-0-946097-23-4.
  56. ^ SAD-AFAG Archived May 14, 2010, at the Wayback Machine

External links

1979 Mediterranean Games

The VIII Mediterranean Games – Split 1979, commonly known as the 1979 Mediterranean Games, were the 8th Mediterranean Games. The Games were held in Split, Yugoslavia, from 15 to 29 September 1979, where 2,408 athletes (2,009 men and 399 women) from 14 countries participated. There were a total of 192 medal events from 26 different sports.

The games' mascot was a Mediterranean monk seal named Adrijana.

Aydıncık Nature Park

Aydıncık Nature Park is a nature park in Turkey. It is at 36°08′52″N 33°21′38″E and situated to the east of Aydıncık ilçe (district) of Mersin Province. Its distance to Aydıncık centrum is about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) and to Mersin is about 170 kilometres (110 mi). Gilindire Cave is to the east of the nature park. It was declared a picnic area in 1988 and a nature park in 2011.

The park is at the east side of Aydıncık bay, facing Aydıncık Islands and the town.

The total area of the park is 23.7 hectares (59 acres). The natural flora consists of Turkish pine (Pinus brutia), myrtle (myrtus communis), kermes oak (quercus coccifera) and laurel (laurus nobilis), and spini broom (calicotome villosa). Mediterranean gull (chthyaetus melanocephalus), Mediterranean monk seal (monachus monachus ) and various small reptiles make up the fauna around the park.

Bay of Grama

The Bay of Grama (Albanian pronunciation: [ˈɟiːɾi i ˈgraːməs] — Albanian: Gjiri i Gramës) is a bay of the Ionian Sea situated along the Albanian Ionian Sea Coast on the Mediterranean Sea in Southern Europe. It is one of many bays of the western Ceraunian Mountains along the Albanian Riviera south of the Karaburun Peninsula.The bay is home to precious archaeological, historical and cultural values, as it served as an important harbour and shelter for the ones sailing along the coast during classical antiquity. On the vertical cliffs and rocks, there are numerous carved inscriptions in Ancient Greek, Latin and Medieval Greek; the name of the bay is closely associated with engraved inscriptions. During the Second World War it was used at a base for the Special Operations Executive.Representing a rocky bay, the shore is dominated by coastal cliffs, sloping vertically into the sea, and rocky, pebbled beaches. It stretches within the Karaburun-Sazan Marine Park and was designated as a natural monument because of its outstanding landscape dotted with solutional and sea caves. The precious landscapes of the bay are of global importance, because they contribute to the country's ecological balance and provide habitat for numerous globally threatened and endangered species. The sea caves are an exceptional ecosystem and give important refuge to the mediterranean monk seal, the rarest seal species in the world.

Coaling Island

Coaling Island is an area of reclaimed land in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar. It is located at the centre of the western end of Gibraltar Harbour as one of its industrial zones. It also serves to harbour Cormorant Camber which berths small boats. The Royal Gibraltar Yacht Club was located there after the Ministry of Defence Boat Squadron freed up the site.During World War II there was a fire at Coaling Island. A Spaniard, José Martín Muñoz, who was working in Gibraltar created an explosion and fire at a fuel tank on 30 June 1943. Because of this he was under scrutiny and in August he was arrested as he attempted to place a bomb inside Ragged Staff Magazine. Muñoz was later hanged by Albert Pierrepoint.

In 2012, a Mediterranean monk seal was spotted on the jetty of the private boat owners club at Coaling Island.

Earless seal

The earless seals, phocids or true seals are one of the three main groups of mammals within the seal lineage, Pinnipedia. All true seals are members of the family Phocidae . They are sometimes called crawling seals to distinguish them from the fur seals and sea lions of the family Otariidae. Seals live in the oceans of both hemispheres and, with the exception of the more tropical monk seals, are mostly confined to polar, subpolar, and temperate climates. The Baikal seal is the only species of exclusively freshwater seal.


Elasa (Greek: Ελάσα) is an island that can be found northeast of Crete in the Aegean Sea, about 3.5 nautical miles (6.5 kilometres; 4.0 miles) from the palm tree forest of Vai. It is rocky and uninhabited covering 1.9 square kilometres (0.7 square miles). Its highest point is 79 metres (259 feet) above sea level. Administratively it comes within the Itanos municipality in Lasithi.

Gennargentu National Park

The Gennargentu National Park (also National Park of the Bay of Orosei and Gennargentu; Italian: Parco Nazionale del Golfo di Orosei e del Gennargentu) is a national park on the east coast of Sardinia.Wildlife in the park includes the Felis lybica sarda (also known as Sardinian wildcat), the mouflon, the marten, the weasel, the edible dormouse, the garden dormouse, the Sardinian fox, the griffon vulture, the golden eagle, the Bonelli's eagle, the peregrine falcon, the great spotted woodpecker, the butterfly Corsican swallowtail. Marine mammals include the Mediterranean monk seal, the fin whale, sperm whale, and various smaller whales and dolphins.The park lies in the provinces of Nuoro and Ogliastra.The highest mountain in Sardinia, Punta La Marmora, in the Gennargentu mountain range is within the boundaries of the National Park.

Hawaiian monk seal

The Hawaiian monk seal, Neomonachus schauinslandi (formerly Monachus schauinslandi), is an endangered species of earless seal in the family Phocidae that is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands.The Hawaiian monk seal is one of two remaining monk seal species; the other is the Mediterranean monk seal. A third species, the Caribbean monk seal, is extinct.The Hawaiian monk seal is the only seal native to Hawaii, and, along with the Hawaiian hoary bat, is one of only two mammals endemic to the islands.These monk seals are a conservation reliant endangered species. The small population of about 1,400 individuals is threatened by human encroachment, very low levels of genetic variation, entanglement in fishing nets, marine debris, disease, and past commercial hunting for skins. There are many methods of conservation biology when it comes to endangered species; translocation, captive care, habitat cleanup, and educating the public about the Hawaiian monk seal are some of the methods that can be employed.

Karaburun Peninsula (Albania)

The Karaburun Peninsula (Albanian: Gadishulli i Karaburunit) is a peninsula of the Mediterranean Sea located in Southern and Southeastern Europe, which is almost completely surrounded by both the Adriatic Sea to the north and the Ionian Sea to the south. It is located in Southwestern Albania along the Albanian Ionian Sea Coast, whereas the Strait of Otranto separates it from Italy. The Strait of Mezokanal dissociates the peninsula from Sazan Island, while in the southeast stretches the Bay of Vlorë.

In terms of geology, the Rrëza e Kanalit on the peninsula represent the continuation of the Acroceraunian Mountains, which is the highest and most extensive mountain range system that extends parallel to the Ionian Sea. Created during the mesozoic era of the cretaceous and paleogene period, the crests of the mountain range form a northwest-southeast line with a series of distinct peaks along its irregular structure that are broken apart by steep and unequally slopes. The highest peaks are namely, the Maja Çaderës, Maja e Flamurit, Maja e Koretës and Maja e Ilqes.

The western section comprises a rough relief and is dotted with sandy and rocky beaches, sea caves, stepp cliffs and several bays amongst them Cave of Haxhi Ali, Kepi i Gjuhëzës, Gjiri i Arushës, Gjiri i Dafinës, and most notably Gjiri i Gramës, where ships and vessels anchored during classical antiquity. On the high and steep rock faces of the bay, which served also as a marble quarry, there are hundreds of rock inscriptions dating back to the 4th century BC. Under the Köppen climate classification, the peninsula experiences a mediterranean climate with hot summers and generally warm to cool, dry winters. The ideal climate and contrasting landscapes located at the sea have favored the development of a vast array of habitats which in turn are home to a diverse wildlife. The fauna is represented by several threatened and endangered species such as the loggerhead and green sea turtle but also the mediterranean monk seal, the rarest seal species in the world.The landmass of the peninsula is designated as nature reserve, while the shoreline and its surrounding sea waters are part of the marine park. In 2014, the Regina Blu ferry was established by a Radhime-based hotel owner making trips between the peninsula and the island of Sazan, while stopping along the secluded beaches.The peninsula belongs to the Sazan Zone that is a constituent of the Albanides tectonic unit. Albanides form the link between Dinarides and Hellenides orogenic belts. They are considered allocthonous and mobilist theories deduce they come from the east. These formations have been continuously under the effect of Karst and are exploited as marble (metamorphosed limestone) since antiquity. The widespread Karst topography is responsible for the absence of potable water and thus the absence of any population on the peninsula. Despite the dry surface and upper soil layers, there are several water sources that pour deep directly into the sea. The geological evolution has formed also capes such as Galloveci cape and Kepi i Gjuhëzës, as well as a total number of 20 caves along the whole coast.

List of mammals of Madeira

This is a list of mammals of Madeira, concerning the indigenous mammals of the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira in the North Atlantic ocean. Besides the mammals on the islands, the coastal waters are host to at least nine species of dolphins and ten species of migrating

cetaceans. These are protected in the 430,000 km2 Madeiran 'Marine Mammal Sanctuary'.

Mediterranean Monk Seal Memorandum of Understanding

The Memorandum of Understanding concerning Conservation Measures for the Eastern Atlantic Populations of the Mediterranean Monk Seal is a multilateral environmental memorandum of understanding (MoU) and entered into effect on 18 October 2007, under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), also known as the Bonn Convention. It focuses on the protection of the eastern Atlantic populations of the Mediterranean monk seal. The MoU covers four range states (Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal and Spain), all of which have signed.

Monk seal

Monk seals are earless seals of the tribe Monachini. They are the only earless seals found in tropical climates. The two genera of monk seals, Monachus and Neomonachus, comprise three species: the Mediterranean monk seal, Monachus monachus; the Hawaiian monk seal, Neomonachus schauinslandi; and the Caribbean monk seal, Neomonachus tropicalis, which became extinct in the 20th century. The two surviving species are now rare and in imminent danger of extinction. All three monk seal species were classified in genus Monachus until 2014, when the Caribbean and Hawaiian species were placed into a new genus, Neomonachus.

Monk seals have a slender body and are agile. They have a broad, flat snout with nostrils on the top. Monk seals are polygynous, and group together in harems. They feed mainly on bony fish and cephalopods, but they are opportunistic. The skin is covered in small hairs, which are generally black in males and brown or dark gray in females. Monk seals are found in the Hawaiian archipelago, certain areas in the Mediterranean Sea (such as Cabo Blanco and Gyaros island), and formerly in the tropical areas of the west Atlantic Ocean.

All species experienced overhunting by sealers. The Hawaiian monk seal experienced population drops in the 19th century and during World War II, and the Caribbean monk seal was exploited since the 1500s until the 1850s, when populations were too low to hunt commercially. The Mediterranean monk seal has experienced commercial hunting since the Middle Ages and eradication by fishermen. Monk seals have developed a fear of humans, and may even abandon beaches due to human presence. Currently, around 1,700 monk seals remain.


Premantura is a small village in Istria, Croatia, on the southernmost tip Istrian Peninsula, just south of the city of Pula. A short distance from Premantura is Cape Kamenjak – a small peninsula consisting of more than 30 km of coastline with several coves and beaches.

In the southernmost part of Istria (county of the Republic of Croatia), on a sliver land surrounded by the sea and perched on the top of a hill, there lies a small and ancient village. It had been called Promontorium Polaticum first, then Promontore (Promontore d’ Istria) and finally Premantura. Throughout history Premantura & Kamenjak have been exposed to constant changes of government due to the importance and uniqueness of its position. In the 20th century, the inhabitants of Premantura had lived through six different political regimes or states. The inhabitants of Premantura became famous for their ample to catch of a very delicious type of crab. Premantura is naturally connected with the Cape Kamenjak – a small peninsula which was, due to its exceptional beauty and variety of plants and animal species, declared a protected area back in 1996. Kamenjak peninsula is 3400 m long, wide between 500-1200 m and includes 30 km of coastline, beautiful bays and beaches, many protected and endemic plant and animal species such as: endemic orchids, butterflies, Mediterranean monk seal, crabs and more.The best evidence about the ancient history of Premantura Kamenjak are the 146 dinosaur footsprints found on Kamenjak that are more than 90 million years old.

Pullu I Nature Park

Pullu I Nature Park (Turkish: Pullu I Tabiat Parkı) is a coastal nature park in Anamur ilçe (district) of Mersin Province, Turkey. The index "I" is to distinguish the park from a neighboring park with the same name.

The park at 36°5′15″N 32°54′38″E is a coastal park between the Mediterranean Sea and the Mersin-Anamur highway , which runs parallel to Mediterranean Sea coast. Anamur and Mamure Castle are to the west, Bozyazı and Mersin are to the east and Bozdoğan village is to the north of the park. Its distance to Anamur is 7 km (4.3 mi) and to Mersin is 220 km (140 mi). It covers an area of 10.3 ha (25 acres). In 1980, the area at the Mediterranean Sea side was declared a recreation area. In 2011, it was registered as a nature park by the Ministry of Environment and Forest.The nature park offers outdoor recreational activities for 1,000–1,500 visitors on daily basis such as hiking, swimming and picnicing. Camping and renting of cottages or bungalows are also available. The park offers place for 180 campers and 30 caravans.The nature park has Mediterranean climate. Dominant vegetation in the park are the trees red pine (Pinus resinosa) and jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) as well as the shrubs topped lavender (Lavandula stoechas), marjoram (Origanum) and caper spurge (Euphorbia lathyris). Tne sandy beach of the nature park is an ovulation site for the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus), living in the coastal sea of Anamur, may be also observed at site.

Ras Nouadhibou

Ras Nouadhibou (Arabic: رأس نواذيبو‎) is a 60-kilometre (37 mi) peninsula or headland divided between Mauritania and Western Sahara on the African coast of the Atlantic Ocean. It is internationally known as Cabo Blanco in Spanish or Cap Blanc in French (both meaning "White Headland").

In the 14th and 15th centuries, fishing activities carried out from the nearby Canary Islands, by Spanish fishermen, inspired Spain to develop an interest in the desert coast of what is today called Western Sahara.Cabo Blanco, in the Atlantic Ocean, is the only place in the world where Mediterranean monk seals form a true colony. In 1997, two-thirds of the colony died off, but there has been gradual recovery since.

Swiss Cetacean Society

The Swiss Cetacean Society is a Swiss nonprofit organization devoted to the preservation of marine mammals in their natural habitat.

Founded in 1997, its headquarters are in Lausanne in Switzerland.

Tethys Research Institute

The Tethys Research Institute (official name: Istituto Tethys ONLUS) is a non-profit research organisation founded in 1986 to support marine conservation through science and public awareness. The Institute has its headquarters at the Civic Aquarium of Milan, Italy. Tethys' activities are mainly carried out in the Mediterranean Sea, although research programmes have been conducted also in the Black Sea, the North Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean as well as in the Red Sea and Antarctica. The results of these activities have been presented in scientific publications as well as in meetings, workshops and conferences.

Torba, Bodrum

Torba is a sea-side village near Bodrum in the Mugla Province, Turkey.

Torba is located approximately 6 km (3.7 mi) northeast of the resort town, Bodrum. The hillsides are clad in olive groves and pine forests. The shoreline is dotted with cafes and open-air restaurants, specializing in catch-of-the-day seafood, lamb kebabs and traditional mezes (Turkish tapas). Despite some recent upmarket developments, the village has retained a relaxed, rural ambience. Because of its close proximity to Bodrum town, Torba is popular with day-trippers who come for a swim, a stroll along the idyllic shoreline or a candle-lit dinner on the beach. Hotels and all-inclusive resorts are there as well.

Some of the fish in Torba Bay include sea bass and gilt-head bream. Other marine life include sea turtles, dolphins or the rare Mediterranean monk seal.

Extant Carnivora species

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