Monachus monachus (Mediterranean Monk seal)
Species: Monachus monachus (Hermann, 1779)
- They reach 2.4m in length (nose to tail)
- They can reach 250-300Kg in weight, but the females are slightly smaller than the males
- Adult males look black with white belly patches and adult females look brown or grey with a lighter belly coloring
- At birth, the pups measure between 88-103cm in length and weigh 15-20Kg
- The adults usually give birth on cliff bound coasts and in caves
- Both sexes reach sexual maturity between 5-6 years, although some females mature at 4 years of age
- By the time they are 2 weeks old, pups can swim and dive with ease
- Pups become independent at 16-17 weaks
- They feed on fish and cephalopods (squids, octopus) in coastal waters
- Individuals can live up to 20-30 years and can dive up to 100m
- Mating takes place in the water
- Breeding season begins in September and lasts until november
The species is describes as critically endangered by the world Conservation Union (IUCN).
Less than 600 individuals currently surviving
- In ancient Greece, monk seals were set under the assurance of Poseidon and Apollo in light of the fact that they demonstrated an incredible affection for ocean and sun.
- Mediterranean monk seals generally look for shelter in caves, frequently along remote, cliff bound coasts. Such caves may have submerged doorways, not noticeable from the water line.
- Coastal development: such as hotels and beach bars which lead to habitat loss.
- Human killing: by fishermen (fishing nets) and fish farm workers who see the animal as a pest that ruins their nets and steal their fish
- Accidental capture: in fishing nets and bottom trawling which leads to drowning.
- Oil spillage