THE MEDITERRANEAN MONK SEAL
The Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus, attested as early as in Homer’s Odyssey, is the most endangered marine mammal in Europe and the rarest of the 33 seal species in the world. It is estimated that about 800 individuals survive, half of which live and breed in Greece. They can swim long distances within few weeks or months and can dive as deep as 200 metres in search of food, their diet consisting of fish and, mainly, octopus, of which they are very fond.
When pupping and nursing, they seek inaccessible marine caves. As a female adult gives birth to one pup a year, protecting the monk seal’s habitats and pupping sites is crucial for the survival of the species. The Mediterranean monk seal is mostly threatened by human activity (fishing, shipping, marine pollution).
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