Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus conservation: a case study in the Desertas Islands

  • Published source details Pires R. & Neves H.C. (2001) Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus conservation: a case study in the Desertas Islands. Mammalia, 65, 301-308.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Legally protect habitat for marine and freshwater mammals

Action Link
Marine and Freshwater Mammal Conservation
  1. Legally protect habitat for marine and freshwater mammals

    A before-and-after study in 1984, 1989 and 1992–1998 of three islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, Portugal (Pires & Neves 2001) reported that after the area became legally protected, a population of Mediterranean monk seals Monachus monachus increased over eight years. Results are not based on assessments of statistical significance. The number of monk seals inhabiting the islands was estimated to be higher eight years after legal protection was put in place (20 seals) than six years before legal protection (6–8 seals). Annual pup production was higher during 5–8 years after legal protection (2–3 pups/year) than during one year before legal protection (1 pup/year). The islands (and surrounding waters to a depth of 100 m) were legally protected and designated as a nature reserve in 1990. Controlled commercial fishing without nets was permitted in one half of the reserve. Wardens patrolled the islands daily by boat and educated fishers. In 1992–1998, seals were photographed and observed with binoculars for 5 h/day at 12–24 points located along the three islands. Data for 1984 and 1989 were from previous studies.

    (Summarised by: Anna Berthinussen)

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