Headlines – News – Articles
3rd December, 2012

Automatic cameras record monk seals in the Desertas Islands

Rosa Pires, Parque Natural da Madeira

Pup with the females – “Female Y” and “Riscagrande” on Tabaqueiro beach. (Click to Enlarge)

Over recent years, camera monitoring systems have been installed on several occasions in Madeira’s Desertas Islands, yet failed to achieve the desired results.

This year, however, we obtained the first images of monk seals on site using a simple system, comprising an automatic camera.

On 26 October 2012, the system captured the first pup of the reproductive season — barely one day old.

The calf, a female, is healthy and being cared for by two females who share the role of mother. It is thought possible that one of them may have previously lost her own calf.

Pup with the “Female Y”, 20 days later. (Click to Enlarge)

It is hoped that the initiative, undertaken through the BES Biodiversity award, with the technical assistance of Spanish organization CBD-Habitat, will allow more effective monitoring of monk seals both on beaches and in caves. The system is also expected to prove its value during the current stormy season, which often prevents or inhibits firsthand observation.

By January or February 2013, we hope to have results from the camera system installed inside ‘Tabaqueiro’ — a maternity cave.

 

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