Habitat use and preliminary demographic evaluation of the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) in the Cilician Basin (Eastern Mediterranean)

Over the last few decades a dramatic decline in the number of Mediterranean monk seals (Monachus monachus) limited scientific studies on the biology.. behaviour, and ecology of the species. This lack of information impaired the effectiveness of conservation strategies. Thus, any further information gathered on the monk seal has utmost value in the work to halt and reverse the plight of the species. A hitherto unknown Cilician Basin colony of the Mediterranean monk seal has been investigated during a 6-year period between 1995 and 2001. Results of direct in-cave surveys and land based seal-watch observations enabled the evaluation of habitat use and preliminary demographic information. A total of 39 caves were discovered among which only three were used for breeding. Scarcity of the breeding caves emphasised the importance of breeding habitat in the survival of the colony. Common features of the breeding caves are found as an entrance with a protective barrier against strong waves; a chamber with a wide beach; and a well-sheltered shallow pool. Supplementary data obtained from infrared monitors installed in three actively used caves were used to assess the number of individuals. Throughout the study period, 25 individuals were identified and 11 newborn pups were found. Evaluation of the results Suggests the presence of sub-regions inhabited by an individually identified sub-group of monk seals. Recommendations for conservation guided by this information is a Marine Protected Area consisting of two zones; a restricted core zone prohibiting any human activity securing breeding habitat and a restricted fishery zone securing sustainability of the food source.


Human impacts on ecological heritage - Mediterranean monk seal in the Cilician Basin
Yediler, A; Gücü, Ali Cemal (1997-01-01)
As a direct consequence of the human impacts on the Mediterranean, inhabiting populations of certain species, like Mediterranean Monk Seal Monachus monachus (Hermann, 1779), have suffered from a dramatic decline. The Cilician Basin is one of the last regions of the Mediterranean, where a small monk seal population still regularly reproductive, is present. In this study, ill possible factors which may adversely affect the population, have been evaluated and immediate protection measures specifically adressed...
The Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus: status, biology, threats, and conservation priorities
Karamanlidis, Alexandros A.; Dendrinos, Panagiotis; De Larrinoa, Pablo Fernandez; Gücü, Ali Cemal; Johnson, William M.; Kirac, Cem O.; Pires, Rosa (2016-04-01)
The Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus is the most endangered seal species. In this review we summarize the status, ecology, and behaviour of the Mediterranean monk seal, and identify the main threats that currently affect the species and the conservation priorities for securing its survival. Once abundant throughout the Black Sea and Mediterranean, as well as off the Atlantic coasts of northwestern Africa and Macaronesia, the Mediterranean monk seal has recently suffered dramatic declines, both in a...
Diet of a Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus in a transitional post-weaning phase and its implications for the conservation of the species
Kirac, Cem Orkun; Ok, Meltem (2019-01-01)
The Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus is the most endangered pin-niped in the world and is considered Endangered by the IUCN. Transition from suckling to active feeding is a critical time in the development of all mammal species, and understanding the dietary requirements of seals during this vulnerable period is of value in establishing conservation measures, such as fishery regulations. This study provides unique information on the dietary habits of a moulted monk seal pup, through the opportunist...
New monitoring confirms regular breeding of the Mediterranean monk seal in Northern Cyprus
Beton, Damla; Broderick, Annette C.; Godley, Brendan J.; Kolac, Emre; Ok, Meltem; Snape, Robin T. E. (2021-07-01)
The Endangered Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus is one of the most threatened marine mammals. Across Cyprus, suitable habitat and presence of monk seals is well documented and, recently, camera-trap surveys in Southern Cyprus found there to be pupping. We present results of the first camera-trap surveys in Northern Cyprus spanning the pupping period. Four adult/subadults and three pups were identified in three of eight caves monitored with camera traps. One site on the north-west of the island supp...
Occurrence of the critically endangered Mediterranean Monk Seal, Monachus monachus, at Olympos-Beydaglari National Park, Turkey (Mammalia: Phocidae)
Gücü, Ali Cemal; Ok, Meltem (2009-01-01)
The coast of Antalya, despite being acknowledged as an important Monk Seal (Monachus monachus Hermann, 1779) habitat, has never been studied systematically for the occurrence of the species. The rocky cliff-bound coast of Antalya Olympos-Beydaglari National Park, where human disturbance appears minimal compared to the rest in the area, was surveyed between June and November 2008. Of the 39 caves discovered, both along mainland and island coasts, only 8 were considered suitable for placing photo-traps and a ...
Citation Formats
A. C. Gücü and H. Orek, “Habitat use and preliminary demographic evaluation of the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) in the Cilician Basin (Eastern Mediterranean),” BIOLOGICAL CONSERVATION, pp. 417–431, 2004, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: https://hdl.handle.net/11511/31345.