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Mer calme

Mediterranean Monk Seal - News - 2023

Updated: Apr 26

Extract from the 2023 Activity Report / SCS AG

Our efforts are making a difference: the Mediterranean monk seal has moved from "endangered" to "vulnerable" in the IUCN classification.

SCS supports the CBD-Habitat foundation, which manages activities in the field.

Découvrez le Phoque moine de Méditerranée, une espèce désormais 'vulnérable' selon l'IUCN, grâce aux efforts de la SCS et de la fondation CBD-Habitat

The collaboration between SCS and CBD-Habitat demonstrates our dedication to protecting this endangered species.

© M.A. Cedenilla, CBD-Habitat Foundation

Once abundant in the Mediterranean, the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) is now on the brink of extinction. This marine mammal is classified among pinnipeds, along with sea lions, elephant seals, and walruses.

This species faces a daily struggle for survival, threatened by a multitude of human-induced dangers. Victim to fishermen's competition because seals eat fish caught in their nets, overfishing, pollution, and human activity in its habitats, its population has dwindled to fewer than 1,000 adult individuals.

Le Phoque moine de Méditerranée, un symbole de la biodiversité marine en danger, bénéficie du soutien crucial de la SCS et de la fondation CBD-Habitat.

Mediterranean monk seal. © M.A. Cedenilla, CBD-Habitat Foundation

The scientific community and environmental protection organizations, including the SCS, are taking concrete actions for the conservation of this marine mammal, and the results are promising:

In 2023, thanks to the joint efforts of the scientific community, the IUCN classification of the Mediterranean monk seal changed from "endangered" to "vulnerable."

Populations in the Atlantic, notably at Cape Blanc in Mauritania and in the Madeira archipelago, show a steady increase. In the Mediterranean, adult individuals have been identified in Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, and Sardinia, indicating a promising resurgence.

The colony at Cape Blanc in Mauritania is particularly impressive. Since the creation of the "Seal Coast" reserve in 2001, the population has quadrupled, from around a hundred individuals to over 400 in 2022. The number of annual births has also tripled, surpassing 80 per year.

Le Phoque moine de Méditerranée : une icône de la conservation marine. Découvrez comment la SCS et la fondation CBD-Habitat unissent leurs forces pour sa survie.

Mediterranean monk seals resting on the sand. © CBD-Habitat Foundation via Monk Seal Alliance

Despite this progress, the Mediterranean monk seal remains threatened.

Fondation CBD-Habitat

SCS supports the CBD-Habitat foundation, our partner in the field, which tirelessly invests in multiple fronts as part of the "Mediterranean Monk Seal Conservation Program."

CBD-Habitat is responsible for implementing this program with the Mauritanian NGO Annajah.

Continuous monitoring of the Seal Coast Reserve, recording of observed violations, monitoring breeding sites (caves), collecting demographic data from the colony, maintaining the reserve and its infrastructure are among the list of concrete actions being undertaken on-site.

Ensuring the future of this species is an immense challenge.

We need your help to save the

Mediterranean monk seal!

Protégeons le Phoque moine de Méditerranée ensemble ! Explorez comment la SCS et la fondation CBD-Habitat travaillent pour sauver cette espèce menacée.

Mediterranean monk seal. © Lida Kypriotou


Project Coordinator at SCS: Lida Kypriotou

Lausanne, April 22, 2024

Article writing: Leonor de Carvalho / SCS


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