Kimolos Monk Seal
The Mediterranean Monk Seal, Monachus monachus, is a rare marine mammal which’s most important population is found in Greece. Its name derives from its appearance that resembles the hood of catholic monks. As the Monk Seal is a top predator, its existence is linked to the health of sea. Today, it is the No1 critically endangered sea mammal in Europe and one of the six most critically endangered species in the world. Protecting the Monk Seal means protecting the marine ecosystem. Extinction of the Monk Seal is the prelude of the marine ecosystem’s deterioration.
The largest population of the Mediterranean Monk Seal in the world lives and breeds in Greece. Comprising 90% of the species’ total European population, 200-250 individuals are swimming in the clear–blue waters of the Aegean and Ionian Seas. Another important remaining population, within European waters, is found at the Madeira island complex and consists of about 20 individuals. The “National Marine Park of Alonnissos Northern Sporades” and the Kimolos-Polyaigos island complex constitute the two most significant Monk Seal habitats in Greece.
KIMOLOS AND POLYAIGOS ISLAND COMPLEX
Due to their rich biodiversity, North-West Kimolos Island and Polyaigos Island are part of the “NATURA 2000 Network” of the most important, ecologically-wise, sites in Europe. When it comes to the Monk Seal, the Kimolos -Polyaigos island complex becomes of vital significance and barer of some really good news. Between 1997 and 2005, a total of 68 pups were born, i.e., the second highest recorded newborn pup population in the Mediterranean and the third worldwide. Pups excluded, 43 individuals have been sighted in the area, constituting 9% of the species total world population, circa 500 individuals. Taking into consideration the status of Kimolos-Polyaigos Islands as habitat to such an important population of this critically endangered species, the area’s protection is a step to be taken. read more