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29th October, 2014

Note on an old female monk seal that died in Croatia in 2014

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.

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13th June, 2014

New publication details monk seal stranding case on the eastern Mediterranean coast of Turkey

Recent Publications

Open access journalsErdem Danyer, Işıl Aytemiz, Ali Cemal Gücü, Arda M. Tonay. 2014. Preliminary study on a stranding case of Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus (Hermann, 1779) on the Eastern Mediterranean coast of Turkey. Journal of the Black Sea / Mediterranean Environment 20(2): 152-157. [Download]

Abstract

The Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus (Hermann, 1779) is one of the critically endangered species in the world and in the northeast Mediterranean Sea there is a continuously breeding population. On 28 February 2014, 3-3.5 months old, male Mediterranean monk seal stranded near Yasilovacık Harbour, Mersin. Gross necropsy was carried out one day later. The seal was emaciated and lungs were pneumonic. This paper summarizes the preliminary findings of the gross necropsy.

Further information: Monk seal breeding cave in Turkey threatened by harbour construction.

2nd July, 2010

An epidemic of killings

Editorial, The Monachus Guardian, June 2010

It is hard to imagine anyone not being moved by the tragic tale of ‘Markos’ – the young Mediterranean monk seal who was brought into intensive care, struggling for life, but horribly mutilated by the bullet that shattered his jaw and nasal cavity.

Possibly it was a blessing in disguise that, despite the valiant attempts to save him, he ultimately succumbed to his injuries, for it seemed doubtful that he would ever swim, dive, or grace the Aegean again.

The killing of monk seals in Greece, according to national NGO MOm, is reaching “epidemic proportions”.

The organisation has recorded 15 deaths since January, 5 of which yielded conclusive evidence of deliberate killing. Another killing by gunfire was reported in Turkey on the Bodrum peninsula on 21 April. With other killings just as likely to go undetected along remote coastlines, the final death toll is anybody’s guess.

Full Story

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.

24th May, 2009

‘Foul play’ blamed for Kauai monk seal death

Press Watch –  The Honolulu Advertiser,

Pregnant female called ‘important part of the breeding community’

A Hawaiian monk seal killed Thursday on Kaua’i’s north shore was a pregnant female who had previously given birth to four pups, according to NOAA Fisheries.

Witness accounts suggest the 600-pound monk seal, known to NOAA researchers as RK06, was shot to death, but federal officials would say only that the endangered marine mammal died as a result of “foul play.”

A necropsy on the monk seal was conducted yesterday, and NOAA Fisheries spokeswoman Wende Goo said no further details were being released because the killing is under investigation.

“Foul play” by humans also is blamed for the death of a 4-year-old male monk seal found dead on a Kaua’i beach April 19, according to Goo.

“We don’t have enough information to link the two,” she said. […]

Full article

16th May, 2009

Artemis found dead on Skiathos

Orphaned monk seal pup ‘Artemis’ has been found dead on Skiathos in the Northern Sporades.

The body was discovered on 14 May 2009, floating in Skiathos harbour. It was transferred the same day to Athens for necropsy, conducted by Prof. Dr. Thijs Kuiken, a veterinary pathologist specialising in marine mammals from Erasmus University, Rotterdam.

The necropsy established that Artemis was in excellent nutritional condition and overall health, with a body weight normal for her age. There was clear evidence that the seal had died as a result of drowning – most probably the result of becoming entangled in fishing gear.

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