Lonely MONK in the Ionian Sea

On tuesday 19th after an hour surveying the calm waters of the Inner Ionian Sea we encountered a lonely monk seal Monachus monachus. We had the privilege to observe its graceful movements for about an hour (see video and photo gallery). Monk seals are considered critically endangered by the IUCN. Greece is the nation which still contains most of monk seal habitat and the highest number of monk seals. Here, scattered across remote and less disturbed locations of the country’s highly fragmented coastlines, monk seals continue to attest their ability to reproduce. Because the greatest number of remaining Mediterranean monk seals is now in Greek territorial waters, protecting the species in Greece is by far the single most important measure that can be achieved at the global level to reverse the current downward trend of the species over its entire range within the Mediterranean basin, and to save it from extinction.

Our observation was reported online to MOm. Those of you encountering any monk seal are   strongly encouraged to do the same by visiting MOm’s MEDITERRANEAN MONK SEAL OBSERVATION REPORT site


For more information visit: Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Mediterranean monk seal (MOm).

Recommended reading:

Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Adamantopoulou S., Androukaki E., Dendrinos P., Karamanlidis A., Paravas V., Kotomatas S. 2009. National strategy and action plan for the conservation of the Mediterranean monk seal in Greece, 2009 ‐ 2015. Report on evaluating the past and structuring the future. Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Mediterranean monk seal (MOm), Athens.



About Joan Gonzalvo

Joan Gonzalvo is the project manager and scientific coordinator of the Ionian Dolphin Project. He is a Catalan biologist whose main research interest is the conservation of the marine environment and, more specifically, the study and conservation of cetaceans.

4 Responses to “Lonely MONK in the Ionian Sea”

  1. Ghaidaa H. Mohamad June 24, 2012 5:32 AM #

    The monk was probably looking for …
    the stray octopus! :)

  2. Massimo July 4, 2012 4:48 PM #

    Very peculiar trumpeting soundtrack, with careful closing synchronization!


  1. “Lonely monk” is back | Tethys Research Institute - September 9, 2014

    […] same area. For those following the IDP, this might refresh your memory about the 2012 encounter http://ioniandolphinproject.org/2012/06/21/lonely-monk-in-the-ionian-sea/ Remember that if you come across a monk seal you should report it to MOm (Hellenic Society for the […]

  2. Three monk seals in Greece | Tethys Research Institute - June 23, 2015

    […] You can check this link for the 2012 video […]

Leave a Reply