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
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 opportunistic necropsy of a dead animal encountered at a very early age (5 mo). A total of 6 prey items from 2 families (Octopodidae, 90.8% and Congridae, 8.9%) were identified from stomach contents. The remaining stomach content mass consisted of fish bones from unidentified species (0.3%). The estimated age, low diversity and number of prey items in the stomach contents indicate that this individual may have been in a transition period from suckling to active feeding. The study confirms independent foraging in Mediterranean monk seals at about 5 mo of age. Given the importance of early life survival for maintaining stable Mediterranean monk seal populations, and the occurrence of an ontogenetic shift in its close relative (Hawaiian monk seal), these findings contribute to the establishment and implementation of successful conservation and management strategies for this Endangered species.


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...
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...
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...
An Alternative Photo-Identification Technique For The Mediterranean Monk Seals In The Northeastern Mediterranean
Ok, Meltem; Gücü, Ali Cemal (2009-03-02)
The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus, Hermann 1779) has been listed as one of the most endangered mammals in the world. Due to its rarity, vulnerability and critical status, use of photo-identification is one of the widely used approaches to obtain essential data on these animals such as their population structure, migration behavior and critical habitats. In this study, 3D model construction from photographs was tested as an alternative photo-identification method for the monk seals since it does...
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
C. O. Kirac and M. Ok, “Diet of a Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus in a transitional post-weaning phase and its implications for the conservation of the species,” ENDANGERED SPECIES RESEARCH, pp. 315–320, 2019, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: