A few weeks after the stranding of a bottlenose dolphin with visible signs of human abuse, https://archipelago.gr/en/violent-dolphin-killing/ researchers at the Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation recorded a second violent killing of a marine mammal. One young, male monk seal was located in the SE of Samos, with distinct signs of deliberate killing. Based on the prevailing weather conditions, we believe that the killing of the seal occurred in the southern region of the Aegean Sea, where ocean currents then washed it up on the southern coast of Samos. The young seal ( <1 year) was found with a large open wound on the back, which was caused by a sharp object (likely a knife), while a white paint mark was observed near the same spot, possibly caused by interaction with a boat.
We are fortunate that our seas are home to the last major remaining Mediterranean monk seal population; about 50% of the world’s population of the species. This species is extremely rare and endangered. To protect the monk seal and the other rare marine mammals that still survive in our seas, Greece is not only bound by numerous international conventions, European and national legislation, but from the moral obligation to safeguard these important mammals. Unfortunately, it seems that for many years, the national authorities consider themselves as protecting marine mammals through technical reports, bureaucratic manipulations and running ineffective, costly campaigns. They have the false impression that what they do is adequate for the protection of these rare species.
Finally, it is necessary to highlight that this incident is not an isolated event, but unfortunately describes the general picture that we face daily in our coasts .All of us at Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation refuse to sit with folded arms in front of the administrative inefficiencies and take the role of undertaker of marine life, counting down until the disappearance of marine mammal populations in our seas.