Monk seal in the Mediterranean

Monk seal in the Mediterranean

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There monk seal is a cute mammal said Monachus monachus, pinniped, belonging to the seal family and at risk of extinction. There are not many examples to date and those that have remained must be properly protected as it should be safeguarded the environment that hosts them. Some estimates on the monk seal population speak of approx 700 living specimens.

Monk seal: animal

There is not a huge difference in the eyes of an inexperienced person, between the monk seal and other seals in the category of Phocidae, they all have a rather elongated body for being seals, with a shape tending to cylindrical but obviously irregular. The skin envelops a thick one adipose layer and is covered in turn by a dense, very short, velvety hair, impermeable to water.

The color of the fur is usually tending to black, in the male specimens, while that of the females is brown or dark gray, on the belly the cloak it becomes clearer and males may even have a white belly. The forelimbs of the monk seal are real fins, the rear ones are united in a single fin.

Monk seal in the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean monk seal is present with a total of about 700 specimens distributed in different areas starting from those ofAegean and southeastern Mediterranean. A few dozen specimens have also been sighted in the Ionian and Adriatic Seas, a dozen in the Mediterranean central and still another 10 or 20 in Western Mediterranean.

In the Atlantic in total they appear to live about 300 seals of this variety, it is therefore evident that it is an animal at risk of extinction and in Italy it is particularly protected under the law of 11 February 1992.

Let's see what lifestyle he leads: he certainly spends a lot of time at sea even if during the reproductive period he reaches sea areas near the coasts for childbirth and breastfeeding that must take place on land. In the other periods of his life there monk seal it also sleeps on the surface in the open sea or on the seabed, rising to breathe and feeding on cephalopod molluscs, limpets, crustaceans and fish among which it prefers moray eels, corvine, groupers, snappers and mostelle. In order to feed, it covers tens and tens of Km per day and continuously dives even to a depth of 100 meters.

Monk seal: pictures

The monk seal is different from the leopard seal, here are some pictures that clearly show it

Monk seal: cub

Each female monk seal gives birth maximum one puppy per year, is born of already considerable dimensions, from 88 to 103 cm, with a weight that touches i 20 kg. It is thrown into the water a few days after birth despite breastfeeding lasting twelve weeks.

This long period, however, does not pass all by his mother who takes the liberty of leaving him unattended after the first weeks of life and returns to breastfeed him periodically.

As soon as breastfeeding is finished and I understand how to move and hunt in full autonomy, the young people leave the original group and go their own way. At around 4 years of life, they are sexually mature, so they will go in search of a soul, and a twin seal with which to reproduce.

The average path of monk seals goes from 20 to 30 years, the size of the adult specimens are very different even when the area in which they live changes. There length ranges from 80 to 240 cm, the weight grows in proportion without ever exceeding 320 kg and females are usually "lighter". In both sexes there is a slightly flattened shape of the head and small in size compared to the rest of the body which is quite massive, the ears are external and without auricle but on the other hand the eyes fall on mustache, long and robust, called whiskers.

Monk seal: the story of Ionas

Just a puppy of Monk seal is the protagonist of a recent story with a "happy" ending, which took place between the autumn of 2017 and February 2018. We are in Greece and the baby monk seal is called Ionas, was found in October 2017 on a beach ofMykonos island, very popular with tourists and very crowded in the high season. Also in October, but Ionas arrived on this beach totally dehydrated and in a state of severe anemia.

The center of a Greek non-governmental organization called Mom, engaged in daily life to protect the coastal marine environment, took Ionas into care, had him hospitalized at Attica Zoological Park. In this structure the little one was able to benefit from a very specific treatment after which he remained monitored for many months, alone in February 2018 he was deemed to be completely healthy and ready to be released.

Ionas is now free and well, who knows if he will remember Mykonos, but he carries the name of Greece with him, actually the name of the person who found and saved him. After 114 days of hospitalization, in fact, the puppy with its almost 60 kg of mass, is back to wallow like nothing was in Alonissos National Marine Park, in the Northern Sporades.

Another oceanic story, without a happy ending, but interesting, is that ofHumbolt squid

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