Headlines – News – Articles
9th June, 2009

Rare monk seal spotted

Press watch — ANSA, June 9, 2009

Endangered species disappeared from Italy 20 years ago

(ANSA) – Grosseto, June 9 – An extremely rare example of a Mediterranean monk seal, believed to be the world’s most endangered pinniped, has been spotted off the Tuscan island of Giglio. […]

”It showed off for about two hours, surfacing and diving, coming and going,” said Marco Prete, who was among tourists sunbathing on rocks when the seal appeared and managed to take some shots with his camera.

”Luckily there were only a few of us there to see it, and nobody decided to jump in the water so it could enjoy itself undisturbed just a few metres from the rocks,” he told the local Giglio News.

Environmental organisation Legambiente’s Tuscan archipelago spokesman Umberto Mazzanti said the sighting of the wandering young seal confirmed the efficacy of marine protection in waters around the islands.

”We can hope that the species will return to our archipelago, where they lived until the 1960s,” Mazzanti said.

The island of Giglio was named best coastal resort in Legambiente’s Guida Blu for the second time running in May.

Most of the monk seal population lives in Greece and Turkey, while around 150 are thought to inhabit the Atlantic coast of North Africa off Morocco, Madeira and Mauritania.

Most sightings of wandering monk seals in Italian waters have been around Sardinia.

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