A Mediterranean Monk ‘Monachus monachus’ seal was tragically found dead in Pelion. The animal had a gunshot wound to its body and according to reports, it was also hit with a sharp object.
The rare seal was found dead by a couple who were canoeing in the sea. According to e-thessalia.gr, for the last month or so, the seal had appeared in the Milina Sea on a daily basis and enjoyed playing on the beach. It was loved by locals and visitors alike who took every opportunity to take plenty of photos of the rare species.
The 'Monachus monachus' seal is considered an endangered species and is protected by the Greek State.
In the Aegean Sea, Greece has allocated a large area for the preservation of the Mediterranean monk seal and its habitat. The Greek Alonissos Marine Park, that extends around the Northern Sporades islands, is the main action ground of the Greek MOm organisation.
MOm is greatly involved in raising awareness in the general public, fundraising for the helping of the monk seal preservation cause, in Greece and wherever needed. Greece is currently investigating the possibility of declaring another monk seal breeding site as a national park, and also has integrated some sites in the NATURA 2000 protection scheme. The legislation in Greece is very strict towards seal hunting, and in general, the public is very much aware and supportive of the effort for the preservation of the Mediterranean monk seal, with this tragic incident leaving all the local volunteers shocked and saddened.
The Mediterranean monk seal is a monk seal belonging to the family Phocidae. As of 2015, it is estimated that fewer than 700 individuals survive in three or four isolated subpopulations in the Mediterranean, especially in the Aegean Sea, the archipelago of Madeira and the Cabo Blanco area in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean. It is believed to be the world's rarest pinniped species.
The Central Port Authority of Volos is currently investigating the case along with the Mom organisation.