[MARMAM] Mediterranean monk seal newborn pup in an open beach

Pablo Fdez. de Larrinoa pablo.fernandezdelarrinoa at cbd-habitat.com
Tue Oct 6 02:25:52 PDT 2009


Dear Colleges,

 

            CBD-Habitat team has the pleasure to inform you about excellent
news coming from the Mediterranean Monk seal colony located in the Cabo
Blanco peninsula (Morocco/Mauritania).

 

            Last 22 of September 2009, an event of great symbolic and
conservation importance took place in the Cabo Blanco Mediterranean monk
seal colony, the largest aggregation of this species that still survives in
the world. A newborn pup was born in an open beach. As you may know, there
are no records of such an event in many decades, in which seals were
persecuted leading them to abandon open beaches and use exclusively marine
caves to haul out and breed. Therefore, one of the main set of actions of
the Action Plan for the recovery of Mediterranean Monk Seal in the Eastern
Atlantic (CMS) developed by the governments of Spain, Portugal, Morocco and
Mauritania was to “promote the occupation of beaches as breeding and resting
habitat”. During the last 9 years, and under these guidelines established by
the Action Plan, the protection of breeding caves and vicinities by
CBD-Habitat project has been intense reducing to a minimum disturbances
caused by goose barnacle pickers, fishermen as well as the threat of illegal
setting of artisan fishing gears in the area. Afters years of continuous
efforts, monk seals have began to progressively re-colonize open beaches of
the protected area for hauling out. The final step, the use of open beaches
as breeding habitat is the event that just took place this 22 of September,
beginning therefore a new conservation path for this colony.

 

            The pup is a female and is in good shape condition. The birth
took place in a beach located a few hundreds of meters south of one of the
main breeding caves.

 

            This fact joins the progressive recovery of the population,
which in 1998 was estimated to have a size of around 100 individuals and
that today is almost reaching 200, also a high increase in pup production
has produced in recent years being born today in the colony almost 50 pups
per year, when 5 years ago mean annual pup production was 24. Although the
situation is still very critical and fragile, these last events fulfil us of
hope for the future of this population and the species.

 

Best regards,

 

On behalf of CBD-Habitat

 

Pablo Fernandez de Larrinoa

Programa de conservación de la foca monje

en Cabo Blanco

Fundación CBD-Habitat

Nieremberg 8, bajo A

28002 Madrid

SPAIN

Tel: + (34) 91 415 60 52

e-mail: pablo.fernandezdelarrinoa at cbd-habitat.com

 

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