One of the most interesting and challenging facts about the endangered Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) is its distribution: the populations of the species live in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and off the coasts of Africa in the northern Atlantic and are separated by more than 4000 km. Because of this distance, opportunities for cooperation between the teams working with these separated monk seal populations have been limited.
However, the LIFE Andros Park project has managed to bridge this distance and bring MOm, the team working with monk seals in Greece and CBD Habitat, the team working with Mediterranean Monk Seals at Cabo Blanco in Mauritania, closer. Within the framework of the project the two teams will share experience and knowledge in monitoring Mediterranean monk seals; more specifically, MOm and CBD Habitat will try to implement monitoring techniques that have been developed for monitoring Mediterranean Monk Seals in Cabo Blanco and Madeira, such as satellite telemetry and remote camera monitoring in the study area of the LIFE Andros Park project.
In the first meeting of the two teams in January 2018 in Greece, the researchers of CBD Habitat and MOm had the opportunity to work out the details of the work plan of the project, as well as to visit the project area and check out the field conditions in this part of the monk seal’s range. Let’s hope that this is the beginning of a fruitful cooperation to the benefit of the Mediterranean monk seal!