Mediterranean monk seal

Watching guidelines

The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) is one of the world’s most endangered marine mammals. These beautiful animals are particularly sensitive to human disturbance. If you ever come across any of them, you should follow these very basic guidelines.

Please, BE MONK SEAL SMART and demonstrate your support for whale and dolphin conservation.

  • Stay back back 30 metres from seals
  • Move away cautiously if the animals show signs of disturbance (sudden change in behaviour)
  • Avoid making noise in the presence of a seal on land and if at sea put your engine in neutral
  • Refrain from feeding, touching, or swimming with monk seals, and KEEP PETS AT A DISTANCE, as they might be carriers of dangerous diseases to the seal
  • Teach others to be MONK SEAL SMART

Code of conduct

Some additional considerations

If you encounter a seal in:

WATER

Do not panic, do not make sudden movements, do not try to approach the seal and always respect its space. NEVER aim at the seal with a spear gun – monk seals are docile animals but might become aggressive, like any other wild animal, if they feel threatened. Remember that seals are highly mobile in the water and their vision and hearing are far superior to ours. Respect the seals’ need for space and adhere to the recommended safety distances in order to admire this magnificent marine mammal in peace

CAVES

Do not panic and do not try to enter further into the cave, where a mother with her newborn pup might be resting. Try to move slowly away, by swimming close to the walls of the cave and without blocking its exit. Always remember that monk seals in the water and in marine caves are in their natural environment, and that they most likely do not want to be disturbed.

LAND

Monk seals come often on land to rest, especially during their moulting period. However, in some cases, an animal might still require assistance, particularly if it is sick or injured. Remain vigilant and observe the behaviour of the animal from a safe distance without disturbing it to see if there are any signs of injury or distress

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