Further examination of the body of female Mediterranean monk seal Adriana, who died on 25 August 2014 in Croatia, has revealed that she was shot at twice, in all probability many years earlier, according to press reports and Jasna Antolović of Croatia’s Mediterranean Monk Seal Group.
Pellets of different diameter were found embedded in her skin around the head and the lower body respectively. The entry points of the pellets were no longer detectable on the skin’s surface. Researchers deduce that two guns were involved, in what are presumed to have been attacks on two separate occasions. The police are to undertake further enquiries, in liaison with the State Prosecutor’s Office. Read more: (in Croatian): Sredozemna medvjedica u tijelu imala 62 zrna sačme!
by Prof. Dr Đuro Huber, Biology Department, Veterinary Faculty, Zagreb, Croatia
The individual concerned was photographed for the first time on 08 March 2009 by the Monk Seal Group (Jasna Antolović, chair) in the Nature Park Kamenjak at the tip of the Istria peninsula. Confirmed sightings of the monk seal in the area started already in 2004. However, at that time the animal did not have the distinguishable scars on the base of the neck and the base of the hind left flipper. It can be stated that this animal stayed in the area at least for five years and probably almost for 11 years. Automatic cameras pictured her on many occasions in the meantime, but she was also seen several times around the island of Cres, as well.
Since the winter of 2013/14 she was frequently found resting on public beaches not exhibiting fear of people. On 21 February 2014 Đuro Huber observed and photographed her in a perfect physical condition sleeping on a beach and breathing 6 times per minute. Some foamy yellow liquid was seen coming out of her nose on several occasions. Jasna Antolović once provided a bacteriological test of the liquid and Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria were determined. The seal continued to use beaches near urban areas through summer 2014 when the same beaches were crowded with people. Even close proximity approaches by humans on the shore and in the water were tolerated.
The early morning appearance of the monk seal aroused the interest of some drunken tourists, according to a report in Vecernji List, which reported that the tourists tried to force the monk seal back into the sea, before attempting to force it back into the sea by grabbing its tail. Their attempts failed, as local authorities were quickly on the scene to stop the actions of the tourists. [Read more at Digital Journal]
Disturbance of a beach-loafing Mediterranean monk seal by tourists on the Croatian island of Cres, has been caught on camera and published by local NGO Blue World Institute. The species, once considered effectively extinct along this coast, has been making something of a comeback in recent years. Though some have characterised the incident as ‘minor’, accusing conservationists of exaggeration, it is perhaps worthwhile noting that such disturbance to a resting monk seal would be considered illegal in Hawaii, potentially incurring fines of up to $50,000. The return of the monk seal to Croatia is likely to result in increasing interactions of this kind, both in number and intensity. It is perhaps time for the Croatian authorities and international bodies concerned with the survival of the species — whoever they may be — to map out practical strategies to minimise the impact of such interactions.
Despite sporadic reports of individual observations in the last few decades, the emergence of the Mediterranean monk seal in the Adriatic has only been confirmed recently. First photographically documented observations were made on the 12 June 2005. […]
Since then, Blue World regularly monitors these types of observations in the northern Adriatic. Given that the Mediterranean monk seal uses a large area it has many places to rest. Occasional observations around Cape of Premantura Kamenjak in Istria and Losinj have been made, yet there are wide areas of the coast in this region with limited accessibility where the seal could rest in peace. On the 24.06.2011 Blue World researchers recorded the movement of an individual under water (video on www.plavi-svijet.org/hr/znanost/vrste/sredozemna_medvjedica/), and subsequent inspection of the terrain we found underwater caves which may be used by the animals to rest. → Continue reading New monk seal sighting on Cres, Croatia
Croatian NGO Blue World has released footage of a Mediterranean monk seal filmed on 24 June around the island of Cres, in the Northern Adriatic (via the Italian OggiScienza TV magazine). Having studied the footage, Jasna Antolović of the Grupa Sredozemna Medvjedica has expressed the view that the seal might be a young female that her group has been monitoring since 2009 around the Kamenjak peninsula (Pula).
Jasna Antolović reports that Croation and Italian groups (Grupa Sredozemna Medvjedica; Gruppo Foca Monaca) continue their regular monitoring of the Kamenjak peninsula (Pula), where sightings over recent years suggest that the species is attempting to reestablish itself after a long absence.
On 24 March, GSM member Marko Jelic succeeded in taking a photograph of a monk seal resting on the beach of a cave in the area — apparently a first in the history of the conservation of the species in the Adriatic.