Species of Seals

Common Name

Mediterranean Monk Seal

Latin Name

Monachus monachus







up to 2.4 m

Mediterranean Monk Seal (1)


up to 300 kgMediterranean Monk Seal (2)

Social Behavior

Small breeding colonies in cave systems.Mediterranean Monk Seal (3)

Life span:

up to 45 years

Distinctive characteristics:

The majority of this species is dark brown above and paler on the lower side.

Population trend:

The species is considered "critically endangered" by the European, Greek and IUCN Red List (worldwide). It is one of the most endangered species of mammals in the world, with an estimated total population size of just 350-450 individuals in the Mediterranean Sea. Although the waters around Turkey and Greece are one of the last strongholds of the species, reports suggest that only around 200 individuals are left in these waters.

Main threats:

Habitat degradation, deliberate killing, prey depletion.
In seas where fisheries are on the brink of collapse due to poor management and destructive illegal practices, the artisanal fishermen and the monk seals are pitted against each other, both seeking a shrinking number of fish. Fishermen sometimes suffer losses as a result of seals damaging their nets and going after their catch. This conflict often leads to killing the monk seals. An integrated approach is needed to protect the species from vanishing from the Mediterranean Sea. Coastal and fishing communities must work together with the scientists to create an effective management scheme.


Fish, cephalopods, crustaceans.Striped Dolphin Icon (4)


Found in sea caves and feed in coastal waters.Mediterranean Monk Seal (5)

Interesting Facts

The Mediterranean Monk Seal is one of the most endangered mammals in the world.Mediterranean Monk Seal (6)

Status (IUCN):

Critically Endangered (CR)