Our day started particularly unpleasantly today. As we passed the pier where the fishing boats dock, something strange caught our eye. We approached and saw a Mediterranean monk seal lying dead and the sea next to it painted red with its blood.
The unfortunate mammal was trapped in the nets as it tried to feed. But this is not an isolated incident. One of the main threats to date for the species Monachus monachus in the Greek seas (Karamanlidis et al. 2008) is their accidental trapping in fishing gear and their killing by fishermen for revenge! And how not to turn to the nets to feed, when available food has been significantly reduced due to overfishing? Respectively, we limited their living space. They have abandoned the sandy beaches where their young were born, because of our anonying presense. So today we find seals mainly in isolated caves. But there the newborns can not be protected in case of bad weather. If we add to the above the increase in pollution and climate change that affect the habitats where they live, it is probably not difficult to understand why the population of these wonderful animals has shrunk dramatically in recent years.
The species Monachus monachus is on the verge of extinction and the seal in the photo is not just another dead animal… It is one of the last 600 monk seals only estimated to be left in the Mediterranean and everywhere.