An Alternative Photo-Identification Technique For The Mediterranean Monk Seals In The Northeastern Mediterranean

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 not only enable researchers to identify individuals but also allow them to compare the same individuals in time and different individuals to each other without handling them. This technique is based on matching the points on a set of photographs of the same object taken from different angles. 3D model construction process was performed by using the photogrammetry software Photomodeler Ver.3.1a. In order to obtain suitable photographs for the software, some of the caves that are suitable for seal use were equipped with Vigil P-Box infrared monitors that may detect a seal up to 18 meter distance with a passive infrared motion detector and sense heat-in-motion with its conical beam. Besides, to choose sufficient and appropriate reference points that precisely describe the shape of the monk seal, the object having true proportions of a monk seal was used to estimate the minimum number of reference points. According to 3D model results, at least 4 cameras should be placed horizontally in a way to capture lateral, anterior and posterior aspects of the animal and at least 100 reference points should be defined. Additionally, using wider angle lens and infrared film as well as improving the light source may enhance the quality of photographs and so may improve the method.


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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...
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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...
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...
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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 ...
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A breeding bird survey in the Istranca (Yıldız) mountains of Turkish Thrace seawards to the Black sea was conducted May–August 2009. Eighty-eight days of field work in 697 locations generated novel breeding evidence for several species. The survey provided the first certain evidence of Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix breeding in Turkey. Strong evidence for breeding of Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella, with a relatively widespread distribution, was also gathered. The survey suggested that Green Sandpipe...
Citation Formats
M. Ok and A. C. Gücü, “An Alternative Photo-Identification Technique For The Mediterranean Monk Seals In The Northeastern Mediterranean,” 2009, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: