Monk Seals in North Corfu

€13500 awarded

Monk Seals in North Corfu

The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) is an exceedingly rare marine mammal, with a total population of less than 1.000 individuals globally. This species faces significant threats, including displacement, habitat loss, deliberate killing by humans, and entanglement in fisheries bycatch. As a result, it has been officially classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN.

Enduring millennia of exploitation, persecution, and harassment, the Mediterranean species now exists in only a few widely separated, fragmented populations that collectively occupy a small portion of its original range. More than 30 individuals are known to inhabit the waters of the central Ionian Sea. This thriving and reproductive population is crucial for the conservation and recovery of the species in the entire Adriatic/Ionian Basin.

We are therefore excited to announce that the IEF, together with the Blue Marine Foundation, will continue to support research and conservation efforts by the Archipelagos NGO – environment and development, to help the Mediterranean monk seal in the Ionian region. Following on from the success of our previous monk seal project during which the first footage of a monk seal using the caves around the north of Corfu was captured, Archipelagos will concentrate their efforts on caves on the north coastline of Corfu while maintaining activities in NW Corfu as well.


During the spring of 2021, Archipelagos – environment and development, with support from the IEF, initiated monk seal projects in Corfu, focusing on the systematic survey and identification of caves suitable for the resting and pupping of the Mediterranean monk seal. The team pinpointed potential caves on the north and northwest coast of Corfu that were suitable for the monk seals to use. Furthermore, multiple sightings in the area of Kassiopi and Ag. Stefanos (NE Corfu) as also in NW Corfu increased the likelihood of the identified locations fostering resting seals. Using IR cameras Archipelagos succeeded in capturing the first footage of seals using caves to rest in Corfu, indicating the importance of this area for this majestic marine mammal.

In light of this, the present joint project (IEF, BMF and Archipelagos) aims to monitor the presence of monk seals in caves in the north and northwest of Corfu using IR cameras over the course of one year. In support of these efforts, a local network will be established to systematically record on-the-spot sightings.

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