After 25 years of systematic efforts to preserve the species, the first results are now starting to show, as IUCN announced that, according to particular biological criteria, the Mediterranean monk seal “steps down” one category in the endangered species list, from “critically endangered” to … “endangered”. This positive outcome was based on the scientific reassessment of the species requested by IUCN from the special investigators of MOm, who, in cooperation with experts from around the world gathered and evaluated the most recent data regarding the preservation status of the Mediterranean monk seal in at least three of the four basic expansion areas of the species, among which is Greece, while at the same time our knowledge and expertise regarding the biology and the threats to the species have vastly improved. What seems to be playing a significant role in the betterment of the species’ status is the now positive attitude by the majority of the citizens as a result of the informing taken place during environmental education and their overall sensitization.
However, experts point out that the danger of the species’ extinction is still there as the populations are still small and fragile while most of the main threats for the species are still dominant, as the degrading of its habitat and the competition with fisheries. Therefore, systematic and coordinated efforts by the Greek State are immensely important and required in many sectors especially in that of the most efficient protection of the species’ habitat.
For more information:
Dr. A. Karamanlides/MOm’s Scientific Coordinator