Further details have emerged of a rare monk seal sighting in southern Albania, which took place on 4 August 2012 by three Italian tourists while on a snorkelling trip.
One observer, Mario Congedo, of the Corpo Forestale San Cataldo (Lecce), informs us that the sighting occurred at about 12.00 hrs in the area south of Vlore (Valona), about 30 meters from a rocky shore, near a bay named ‘Valle dell’orso’ (Bear Valley). He was able to take several shots with a compact camera as the animal surfaced.
While there is little definitive information available on the status or habitat of the Mediterranean monk seal in Albanian waters, the species has generally been considered extinct there for many years. Rather than pointing to a resident population, sporadic sightings have been attributed to seasonal movements from elsewhere, such as the Ionian Islands of Greece — in this case, within easy swimming distance for a seal.
AGI. 2012. Monk seal, spotted and photographed in Albanian waters, AGI.it, 18 August 20012.
TMG. 2001. Albanian Puzzles, Letters, The Monachus Guardian 4(2): November 2001.