[MARMAM] Mediterranean Monk seal in Israeli waters

scheinin scheinin at 013.net
Tue Feb 16 01:30:32 PST 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shalom Dear Marmmamers,

We would like to inform you about exciting news we have from the easternmost
part of the eastern Mediterranean basin. In the last 4 month
<http://immrac.haifa.ac.il/> IMMRAC team has received more than 40 reports,
some of them including video or photographs, of a seal sighted in many
locations along the entire Israeli coastline from Ashkelon near the southern
border of Gaza Strip to Rosh- HaNikra at the northern border with Lebanon.
The first photographed report that verified the reports to be of the
Mediterranean monk seal, Monachus monachus, was given on January 7th 2010.
We have consulted with monk seal researchers from Turkey, Greece and Holland
about the photos and the consensus was that it is a relatively young female.
The female has been seen swimming inside Herzliya Marina, and was
photographed sleeping in a small alcove on the sea side of its breakwater,
until disturbed. Other images that we have gotten since this sighting were
not clear enough in order to ascertain whether there are more than one seal
along the coast. However the locations and the timings of some of the
sightings suggest at least 2 animals. 

Monk seals have not been observed in the Israeli coast for the last 50
years. In the case that seals are indeed showing re-colonization attempts,
it may indicate a shift in their habitat or that the colony in the north
(south-east Turkey) acts as a nursery as suggested by Ali Cemal Gucu from
Middle East Technical University Institute of Marine Sciences, Turkey.  

Aviad Scheinin, Oz Goffman, Dani Kerem

IMMRAC - Israeli Marine Mammal Research & Assistance center (
<http://immrac.haifa.ac.il/> http://immrac.haifa.ac.il/)

scheinin at 013.net.il



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