Headlines – News – Articles
23rd November, 2009

Monachus Guardian published

Just published: the November 2009 issue of The Monachus Guardian, the biannual electronic journal focusing on the Mediterranean, Hawaiian and Caribbean monk seals. The site can be accessed at http://www.monachus-guardian.org.

This issue features news and articles by some 30 authors from 13 countries from across the range of the genus, from Hawaii to Mauritania, Turkey to Spain, Madeira to Greece.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE CURRENT ISSUE:

Guest Editorial: Monk seals and fisheries need attention, education and cooperation, by Trisha Kehaulani Watson.
International News: Quebec workshop builds Med-Pacific links, but will action ever follow?…

Hawaiian News: Short-lived freedom for KP2…

Mediterranean News: Greece: Orphaned, newborn monk seal rescued at Kefalonia… Madeira: Young seal chooses busy Funchal as home… Mauritania: Reaching the 50-pup mark at Cabo Blanco… Turkey: Monk seals monitored at Karaburun Peninsula…

Cover Story: Tracking Artemis: Making sense out of a young seal’s death, by Panagiotis Dendrinos & Emily Joseph.

In Focus I: Progressive re-colonization of monk seal resting and reproduction habitats as the result of strict protection, by Pablo Fernández de Larrinoa, Hamdi M’Barek, Moulaye Haye, Miguel Ángel Cedenilla, Mercedes Muñoz, Ana Maroto & Luis Mariano González.

In Focus II: Monk seal sightings in Italy move to the central Tyrrhenian sea, by Giulia Mo.

Perspectives I: Tackling the conflict between seals and fisheries in Greece: an end or a beginning? by Stella Adamantopoulou and Vangelis Paravas.

Perspectives II: Mallorca’s lone seal: the 2009 follow-up, by Antoni Font and Joan Mayol.

Letters to the Editor: Seals of Coincidence, by Professor Keith Ronald… and Mediterranean monk seal encounters – Dos and Don’ts, by Marianna Psaradellis…

Recent Publications.

The current and back issues of The Monachus Guardian are also available from the Monk Seal Library http://www.monachus-guardian.org/library.htm.

31st August, 2009

Badem recaptured

Badem recaptured

Badem recaptured

The Turkish media is reporting that runaway monk seal Badem has been recaptured by a team from SAD-AFAG, the Underwater Research Society – Mediterranean Seal Research Group, at Milas Ören in Gökova Bay. The orphaned seal had escaped her temporary captivity in a large, specially-constructed sea pen at a fish farm in Gökova Bay.

Despite repeated warnings, swimmers and beach-goers were again interacting with the seal, posing potentially serious dangers both to the swimmers themselves and to Badem. Experts have expressed concern that every human interaction that occurs delays the possibility of Badem losing her interest in humans and returning to the wild.

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Further info

Fok Badem’in tatili kısa sürdü, Aksam, 28 August 2009.

23rd July, 2009

National Geographic pulls monk seal story

Following a complaint lodged by The Monachus Guardian (see Sealed with a Kiss? below), National Geographic has removed a recent picture story on its website featuring orphaned monk seal “Badem”, and National Geographic Fellow Enric Sala.

In reply to our email, Enric Sala stated: “I was shown your email today about this post on the Wild Blog site. When I read the post (which I did for the first time this morning) I was alarmed and asked for it to be removed immediately, which they did. I am well aware of the issues associated with rehabilitation of monk seals, and agree with your concerns… I apologize for any offense that this post may have caused you and our monk seal friends. I will work to make sure that this kind of mistake is not repeated.”

16th July, 2009

Sealed With a Kiss?

Press Watch, National Geographic BlogWild, July 15, 2009

If you believe the Beatles, love is all you need. Perhaps … but best bring SCUBA gear just in case.

Badem, an orphaned monk seal that lives just off Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, gives killer hugs—literally!

The affectionate pinniped loves to play with people. […]

Marine ecologist and National Geographic Fellow Enric Sala got called in last year, along with Turkey’s Underwater Research Society (SAD-AFAG), to help teach Badem not to hurt the ones she loves. […]

Full BlogWild article


TMG comment and reply to BlogWild

Ah! for those halcyon days when National Geographic was actually a serious journal, rather than a Disney publication.

Contrary to the impression conveyed in your “report”, rescue and rehabilitation of Mediterranean monk seals — Europe’s most endangered marine mammal — is an issue of crucial importance. With few case studies from which to draw experience, each rehabilitation presents a steep learning curve to those involved — veterinarians, nurses, researchers, volunteers. Occasionally, pups in rehab may become imprinted on their human carers, and — as in Badem’s case — continue to interact with humans after release. One of the keys to remedying this behavioural aberration is to discourage beach-goers and swimmers from playing or interacting with the animal — thereby benefiting both the seal itself and the humans involved. Swimming with monk seals can be dangerous — as attested by the considerable numbers of people who have sustained injuries during such play.

Making light of the risks rather than emphasising their potential seriousness, your picture story only ends up romanticising such interactions, and is therefore the height of irresponsibility (as well as poor journalism).

To  suggest that a National Geographic Fellow was called in “to help teach Badem not to hurt the ones she loves” (i.e. by swimming and interacting with her) is not only an insult to the intelligence but also to all those dedicated people who have been working in monk seal rehab and post-release monitoring over the years.

William M. Johnson, Editor, The Monachus Guardian, www.monachus-guardian.org

25th May, 2009

JUST PUBLISHED: The Monachus Guardian, June 2009

Cover Story: Freedom at last for KP2

Cover Story: Freedom at last for KP2

We have now published the June 2009 issue of The Monachus Guardian, the biannual electronic journal focusing on the Mediterranean, Hawaiian and Caribbean monk seals. The site can be accessed at http://www.monachus-guardian.org.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE CURRENT ISSUE:

Guest Editorial: Monk seal: metaphor for the Mediterranean ecosystem, by Ali Cemal Gücü…

International News: IUCN World Congress votes overwhelmingly for monk seal action — but will its own specialist group pay any heed? …. plus, Who are our seals? Moving towards a standardized population estimate approach for Monachus monachus — a report on the ECS Workshop in Istanbul.

Hawaiian News: Ecosystem healthy; monk seals plunging…

Mediterranean News: Croatia: Comeback sightings… Greece: STOP PRESS | Artemis found dead on Skiathos… Turkey: Badem undergoes veterinary treatment… Mauritania: Open beach observations on the rise in Cabo Blanco…

Cover Story: Freedom at last for KP2, the first successfully released hand-reared Hawaiian monk seal, by David Schofield…

In Focus I: Artemis diary, by Eugenia Androukaki…

In Focus II: Our monk seal ambassador, ‘Desertinha’, dies in Madeira, by Rosa Pires…

Perspectives I: Our Sea, Our Life, by Konstantinos Mentzelopoulos…

Perspectives II: The 1st International Conference for Marine Mammal Protected Areas: a long overdue workshop on both Monachus species, by Spyros Kotomatas, Vangelis Paravas, Harun Güçlüsoy and Rosa Pires…

Letters to the Editor: Volunteering and internships in monk seal conservation…

Recent Publications.

The current and back issues of The Monachus Guardian are also available from the Monk Seal Library http://www.monachus-guardian.org/library.htm and may either be viewed on-line, or downloaded as PDF files.

8th February, 2009

Badem undergoes veterinary treatment

An infected eye giving cause for concern, monk seal ‘Badem’ undergoes a veterinary examination and in situ treatment on the Datça Peninsula, Turkey… Meanwhile, researchers believe that the seal famous for its antics and interaction with people may now be shying away from human contact. Details: http://www.sadafag.org/english/index.php?bolum=haber&id=158

20th October, 2008

Badem released from ‘protective custody’

With the 2008 tourist season on the wane and beachgoers diminishing, monk seal ‘Badem’ was released from her temporary captivity in September.

The rescued seal had been taken into protective care in early July, both for her own safety and that of bathers, with whom she was increasingly interacting [see Ambassador with attitude, TMG 11(1): June 2008; Badem under armed guard, Latest News, June 2008; and Badem in ‘protective custody’, Latest News, 2 August 2008.]

The move followed several injuries that the playful or deliberately provoked seal inflicted upon swimmers, and concerns by tourist enterprises and local government that her antics might ultimately drive away tourists rather than attract them.

→ Continue reading Badem released from ‘protective custody’

2nd August, 2008

Badem in ‘protective custody’

In early July, rehabilitated Mediterranean monk seal ‘Badem’ was brought into temporary captivity, both for her own safety and that of swimmers and holidaymakers, with whom she was increasingly interacting [see Badem under armed guard, Latest News, June 2008].

The move followed several injuries that the playful or deliberately provoked seal inflicted upon swimmers, death-threats issued against her, and concerns by tourist enterprises and local government that her antics might ultimately drive away tourists rather than attract them.

→ Continue reading Badem in ‘protective custody’