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Accidental death of a Monk Seal in Libya

Carcass of Monk seal found in Libyan coasts

Increasing competition between men and monk seals (Monachus monachus), one of the most endangered Pinniped species on the world (classified as Critically Endangered by IUCN), for increasingly scarce resources lead to accidents which doesn't help preserving this species even if it's recognized as in danger of extinction.

A recent illustration of such accidents dating back to March 25, 2012 where a dead monk seal was found in the nets of M. Housain Elkhashi, a fisherman in Libya and more precisely in Ain Alghazala. (at a distance of 700 meters northwest of the El marakeb Island, about 60 kilometres west of Tobruk near the Egyptian borders)

Autopsie de phoque
équipe pêcheurs

According to the information received by the RAC/SPA, the carcass belongs to a female monk seal, which measures 160 cm and weight 90 Kg. Despite a normal and fresh skin appearance, the carcass shown eye injuries believed to have been caused by feeding crustaceans. In fact, the body was found Stuck in the net that is still in the water and it is suspected to have been stuck in for one day.

This event confirms the presence of the Monk seal in Eastern Libya, where field work investigations has been carried under the auspices of EGA (Environmental General Authority - libya), RAC/SPA and ISPRA (Institute for Environmental Protection and Research, Italy) in 2001, 2007 and 2009.

RAC/SPA is in contact with the research team (Mr. Gamal Shallouf, Mr. Issam Alfagi and Mr. Abdulkader Salem) of the Marine Biology Research Centre (MBRC, Benghazi center branch), who will take necropsy and submit a report.