1. In ancient times, the distribution range of the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) extended all over the coasts of the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and in parts of the North-eastern Atlantic coast. 8 2. Nowadays, the species is classified as Endangered and the current total world population is stated to consist of 700 animals, though numbers mostly express best estimates. Distribution patterns in documents of international authorities from the last 15 years indicate the species’ extinction in a number of Mediterranean countries while in some of them only a few individuals are thought to survive and in others the status is unknown. 3. The present study analyses recent monk seal sightings over the period from 2000 to 2014 in the Mediterranean Basin. The locations of the sightings cover most of the study area and indicate a spreading of individual seals or a more stable presence in regions where the species was considered extinct. 4. The investigation pointed out that efforts for the protection of monk seals, the most endangered marine mammal in Europe, should encompass all areas where monk seal sightings have been recorded including the protection and conservation of potential suitable habitats in countries where the species apparently no longer exists. 5. Appropriate conservation measures, such as the establishment of Marine Protected Areas and sustainable management of fisheries, will aid natural re-colonization and enhance gene flow between distant regions throughout the Mediterranean Basin allowing the reconnection of distant populations or individual animals.
|Titolo:||On sightings of (vagrant?) monk seals, Monachus monachus, in the Mediterranean Basin and their importance for the conservation of the species.|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2019|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||2.1 Articolo su rivista |
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