Critical Habitat for monk seals giving birth in Cyprus shows value of IMMAs
Recent research published on the journal Oryx (2019, doi:10.1017/S0030605319000759) indicates that the Endangered Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus is becoming established again in Cyprus, with an increasing number of sightings and even the births of several pups.
Monk seal sightings (left) and the presence of suitable caves for resting and pupping (right) are shown in the map above, taken from the Oryx paper.
Monk seal sightings and births were recorded largely within the “Akamas and Chrysochou Bay IMMA” and the “Akrotiri IMMA”, as shown in the above screenshot of the IMMA e-Atlas. This indicates that the two IMMAs were identified correctly even before the evidence of their current importance had become available.
The number of sightings in the Kavo Greko – Kavo Pyla area, in the south-east of Cyprus, likely warrants the proposal of a new Area of Interest (AoI), to be considered a candidate IMMA (cIMMA) as new opportunities arise.