Population decline of the monk seal from the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
This study evalues the situation of the monk seal (Monachus monachus) subpopulation from eastern Mediterranean Sea (Greece). This species is considered a flagship for marine conservation and today it is reduced to only 3 isolated and genetically poor population clusters. They have a small effective population sizes and high levels of inbreeding. Also, this study shows a unique behaviour: male philopatry, which it can be explained by the behaviours of males being the defenders of the breeding sites and females are forced to search for new pupping areas.
Some conservation measures have to be taken to reverse the downward spiral of population decline, mainly reducing anthropogenic threats and increasing population sizes and genetic diversity.
Reference: Karamanlidis, A.A., Skrbinšek, T., Amato, G. et al. Genetic and demographic history define a conservation strategy for earth’s most endangered pinniped, the Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus. Sci Rep 11, 373 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-79712-1