The Mediterranean monk seal in Greece
The Mediterranean monk seal is the No1 endangered marine mammal in Europe and . It is also in the top 6 list of the most critically endangered mammals on earth and in the top 12 most critically endangered animals world-wide.
  The Mediterranean monk seal, Monachus monachus is one of 34 Pinniped species in the world and the only species of Phocidae living in subtropical waters. The other two Monachus species are the Hawaiian monk seal Monachus schauinslandi, also critically endangered, and the Caribbean monk seal Monachus tropicalis, which is considered extinct.

Today, the Mediterranean monk seal is one of the rarest seal species and one of the six most critically endangered mammals on our planet. According to available data, the largest global population of the species lives and breeds in Greek seas while accounting for approximately 90% of the European population of the species.

According to past estimates, the size of the monk seal population in Greece is between 200-500 seals (Marchessaux and Duguy, 1979; Vamvakas et al., 1979). More recent data indicates a population of 200-250 seals (Reijnders et al., IUCN, 1993).


Another significant monk seal population within the European Union exists in the Madeira island complex, consisting of around 20 seals.
 
The Mediterranean monk seal population is widely distributed along the Greek coastline (see distribution map), as indicated by the data collected from the Rescue and Information Network, operated by Mm since 1991.

While important reproduction areas exist throughout the country, the two most important ones are:

The Northern Sporades island complex and, in particular, the protected area of the National Marine Park of Alonnisos Northern Sporades (NMPANS), in the central Aegean Sea.
At least 55 individual adult seals have been identified frequenting the area, whilst their reproduction rate is estimated at around 8 newborns annually (MOm, 2002).

The Kimolos-Polyegos island complex in the southern Aegean. The size of that population is estimated at approximately 43 individual seals with a reproduction rate of 7 newborns annually (MOm, 2005).
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