The northern coastal area of Cyprus includes many important biological features. It contains breeding and pupping habitats of the Endangered Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus). There are some feeding areas of monk seals on the northern coast of Cyprus where seals have been reported to feed. Monk seals are known to feed on cephalopod and fish species in coastal habitats. Approximately 40 individuals are estimated to inhabit the area which extends seawards towards 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 population inhabiting the area was estimated to be around 40 individuals of the species and are now at a critical stage in the northern coastal area of Cyprus.
Criterion C: Key Life Cycle Activities
Sub-criterion C1: Reproductive Areas
The sea caves present in this area offer resting and pup nursing areas for the monk seal. There are only a handful of such caves on the island that were located in the monk seal surveys carried out and this area contains some of them. A juvenile female (<1 years old) was observed during the survey. Eight caves were identified as suitable for pupping and pup nursing.
Sub-criterion C2: Feeding Areas
There is evidence of feeding areas of monk seals on the northern coast of Cyprus where seals have been reported to feed. The monk seals are known to feed on cephalopod and fish species in coastal habitats.
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Dendrinos, P., Tounta, E., Kotomatas, S. 2000. A field method for age estimation of Mediterranean monk seal pups. The Monachus Guardian 3: 72-74.
Gücü, A.C., Gücü, G., Orek, H. 2004. Habitat use and preliminary demographic evaluation of the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) in the Cilician Basin (Eastern Mediterranean). Biological Conservation 116: 417-431.
Gücü, A.C., Ok, M. 2006. Experience and perspectives in Turkey – seals of Northeastern Mediterranean. Conference on Monk Seal Conservation 17-18 September 2006 Antalya-Turkey. http://www.rac-spa.org/telechargement/Events/agend.pdf
Gücü, A.C., Ok, M., Sakınan, S. 2009a. A survey on the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal, Monachus monachus (Hermann, 1779) along the coast of northern Cyprus. Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution 55: 77-82.
Gücü, A.C., Ok, M., Sakinan, S., Celebi, B., Akoglu, E. 2007. Kuzey Kibris Turk Cumhuriyeti Sahili Akdeniz Foklarinin ve Anadolu Kiyisandaki Koloni ile Iliskilerinin Arastirmasi. (Research on Mediterranean monk seals on the coast of Northern Cyprus and its relation to the colony on the Anatolian coast.) In Turkish.
Gücü, A. C., Sakinan, S., Ok, M. 2009b. On the occurrence of the critically endangered Mediterranean Monk Seal, Monachus monachus (Hermann, 1779) at Olympos-Beydağları National Park, Antalya, Turkey and its interaction with tourism. Zoology in Middle East 46: 3-8.
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Marchessaux, D. 1989. Distribution et statut des populations du phoque moine Monachus monachus (Hermann, 1799). Mammalia 53(4) : 621–642.
MOm. 1996. Strategy for the Protection of the Mediterranean Monk Seal Monachus monachus in Greece. Archipelagos—Marine and Coastal Management and Mom/Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal (MOm), Athens, Greece. 10 p.
Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., Adamantopoulou, S., Androukaki, E., Dendrinos, P., Karamanlidis, A.A., Paravas, V., Kotomatas, S. 2009a. National Strategy and Action Plan for the Conservation of the Mediterranean Monk Seal in Greece, 2009–2015. Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Mediterranean Monk Seal (MOm), Athens, Greece, p. 19.
Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., Adamantopoulou, S., Androukaki, E., Dendrinos, P., Karamanlidis, A.A., Paravas, V., Kotomatas, S. 2009b. National strategy and action plan for the conservation of the Mediterranean monk seal in Greece, 2009–2015. Report on evaluating the past and structuring the future. Publication prepared as part of the LIFENature Project: MOFI: Monk Seal and Fisheries: mitigating the conflict in Greek Seas, Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Mediterranean Monk Seal (MOm).71 p. Available from: http://www.monachus-guardian.org/library/notarb09b.pdf.
Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., Kotomatas, S. 2016. Are Mediterranean monk seals, Monachus monachus, being left to save themselves from extinction? In: G. Notarbartolo di Sciara, M. Podestà, B.E. Curry (Editors), Mediterranean Marine Mammal Ecology and Conservation. Advances in Marine Biology 75: 361-388. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/bs.amb.2016.08.004
UNEP-MAP-RAC/SPA. 2003. Action Plan for the Management of the Mediterranean Monk Seal (Monachus monachus). Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas (RAC/SPA), Tunis. 12 p. Available from: http://www.monachus-guardian.org/library/unepma87.pdf UNEP-MAP-RAC/SPA, 2006. Report of the International Conference on Monk Seal Conservation. Antalya, Turkey, 17–19 September 2006. UNEP. 69 p. Available from: http://www.rac-spa.org/sites/default/files/doc_monackus/report_int_monk_seal_conf_antalya_2006.pdf
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