The Mediterranean monk seal is disappearing along most of its former habitat. Nevertheless, occasional sightings were reported in areas where there are no records of resident seal populations. It is unclear whether those occurrences represent vagrants or animals coming from the remnant breeding nuclei. In this study, we collected recent monk seal sightings in the period 2000-2015 in Salento (Apulia, Italy) using two combined research methods: 1) surveys among local population following a specific protocol, developed and applied since the 90ies in western Greece; and 2) interviews to coastal fishermen using a questionnaire specifically developed for our purpose. Despite the low frequency of the encounters, the combination of our data with the historical information on the species suggests that the lack of knowledge about the local presence of this pinniped is mainly due to shortage of sampling efforts. In agreement with the international legal framework devoted to the protection of this marine mammal, it is crucial to increase spatial conservation measures at a wide scale as well as trans-boundary protection where specimens are spotted. Such measures might eventually facilitate the stable return of monk seals as well as ensure the overall improvement of biodiversity.
|Titolo:||Sightings and historical presence of Mediterranean monk seal along the coast of Salento (Southern Italy).|
|Autori interni:||MOLINAROLI, Emanuela|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2017|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||4.3 Poster in Atti di convegno|