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A shelter for the Mediterranean seal

15 March 2010 / 17:03:04  GRReporter
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The Mediterranean seal, also known under the name “Monachus Monachus” is the most threatened with extinction mammal in Europe and the sixth most endangered on world scale. Greece has provided a wide area for its protection which is practically the biggest sea reserve in Europe. Its area is approximately 2,260 km2 and it mainly covers the Alonisos island, however also the smaller islands in the Northern Sporades Peristera, Kira Panagia, Giura, Psatura, Piperi and Skandzura as well as some uninhabited rocky islands.

The national sea park in Alonisos is the first Greek reserve from this kind and on its territory works the Greek association for the protection and study of the Mediterranean seals “Monachus Monachus”. The activity of the organization is very successful as it has managed to provide may be the most restrictive legislate in the world which practically banns as a whole the hunting of the endangered sea mammal. On the other hand the organization has managed to receive the support of the public opinion, which is familiar and supports the efforts for protection of the Mediterranean seal.


Currently in the world there are only 600 animals of this kind. “Monachus Monachus” is know around the Greek territories since ancient times when he was patronized by the God of the sea Poseidon and the God of the sun Apollo. A head of Mediterranean seal is featured on one of the oldest Greek coins from 500 years before Christ and the animal has also been praised in the works of Homer, Plato and Aristotle. Since the ancient times the animal was subject to pursuits by the hunters and the fishermen because of its valuable skin, fat, mean and its healing powers. Only in the past century, however the seal hunting becomes so mass and technologically improved that it puts the rare mammal in danger of extinction.

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