Thursday, 8 December 2016

In-Cyprus / The Cyprus Weekly - Mediterranean Monk Seal filmed off Cyprus (VIDEO)

A rare Mediterranean Monk Seal has been spotted in Cyprus in the area close to Gialousa (Yeni Erenkoy) village.

Kibris Postasi newspaper, which carried the article and the amateur footage of the monk seal, was caught on film by the head of the Protection of the Natural Heritage and the Biodiversity of Cyprus, George Konstantinou.

The Mediterranean monk seal – latin name, Monachus monachus – is one of the world’s most endangered marine mammals with fewer than 600 individuals currently surviving.

Although the Mediterranean monk seal was hunted commercially for its oil and skin until the late Middle Ages, population collapse eventually brought an end to such exploitation.

Deliberate killing of surviving individuals continued by fishermen, angered over damaged nets and ‘stolen fish’.

According to the IUCN Seal Specialist Group “poor condition due to lack of food as a result of over fishing” threatens the survival of the Mediterranean monk seal.

The possible effects of over fishing, such as malnourishment and susceptibility towards pathogens, may affect growth, reproduction, juvenile survival and mortality rate and cause the animals to disperse.

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