Young endangered seal died of stress in Cyprus

NICOSIA, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) — A young Monachus Monachus seal, also known as the Mediterranean monk seal, found dead on a western Cyprus beach in May probably died of stress, according to a specialists’ report published on Wednesday.

The birth of the seal last December was announced by the Fisheries Department as an encouraging sign for the Monachus Monachus seal which is protected by Cyprus and the European Union as an endangered species.

Only 13 Monachus Monachus seals have been recorded near the Cypriot coasts.

Aphrodide, a five-month old female seal, was spotted dead five months after its birth on a beach several kilometers from its den near the tourist village of Chlorakas. It was originally believed that it died after being trapped in fishers’ nests.

However, a report by specialists of the University of Thessaloniki in Greece, said they did not found any external signs of events that might have caused its death.

They concluded that the most probable cause of death was a strong stress, but they were unable to pinpoint the reason of the stress. The most probable reason, the experts said, were human activities in the areas the seal hunted for its food.

The region is a fast developing tourist area and authorities intervened to prevent any buildings near the sea caves in the west coast of Cyprus the seal use to live in.

The experts asked the Fisheries Department to allow further investigation into the exact cause of death.


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