The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) is one of the most Endangered marine mammal species in the Mediterranean Sea. The breeding areas where monk seals raise their pups have been used as key factors to identify important areas for their conservation. The northern coast of the Cilician Basin, between Gazipasa and Tasucu on the Turkish coast, has been studied extensively with cave habitats being monitored by cameras. Individual seals have been identified as well as pups. The area extends seawards to the 200m isobath.
Description of Qualifying Criteria
Criterion A – Species or Population Vulnerability
The Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus is assessed as Endangered [EN C2a(i)] in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The area contains important caves that the monk seals use for their resting and breeding. Currently the number is estimated at about 350-450 in the eastern Mediterranean. The survival of even small population units is crucial for the species. There have been 30 seals identified in the area.
Criterion C: Key Life Cycle Activities
Sub-criterion C1: Reproductive Areas
Observation have been recorded of newborns and pups, as well as the existence of suitable caves for pupping and resting. Direct observation of pups is good evidence and the area has been studied since 1990’s. There have been 11 pups recorded for 1995-2001, three caves used with the evidence of breeding. Although a more recent figure is not readily available, the most recent evidence was a stranded pup in 2016.
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