NEWS

Conservation group seeks answers in seal killings

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The Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation has called for an investigation into the death of a protected seal found southwest of the Aegean island of Samos, the sixth Monachus monachus found killed in Greek waters within a space of 14 months.

“The seals that are found are just a small percentage of the ones that are actually being killed,” warned Archipelagos director Thodoris Tsimbidis, saying that Greece is host to around 200-250 of the 400-600 Mediterranean monk seals that are thought to still survive in the world.

“The state appears incapable of understanding the extent of the problem of Mediterranean monk seals being killed in Greek seas and the real causes behind it,” he added. “It also appears unaware of the responsibility it has to ensure the survival of this exceptionally rare mammal.”

The conservation group said that in its patrols of the eastern Aegean it has found six seals that had died of unnatural causes in the past 14 months, warning that the actual number could be much higher. It is believed that fishermen kill seals that they perceive as a threat to their livelihoods.