© 2019 MOm/Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal

Background - ©Frédéric Larrey/Thomas Roger

I SAW A SEAL

I saw a seal! What should I do?

If you wish to get involved in the protection of Monachus monachus contact MOm now! The active participation of each and one of us is the first step in securing the survival of this critically endangered species. MOm needs your help in collecting information on the status of the Mediterranean monk seal in Greece!

Call the “Monk Seal Hotline” of MOm immediately (Tel: + 30 210  5222888) to report a monk seal sighting - the “Monk seal Hotline” operates 24/7.

Alternatively, you can fill out the Monk Seal Observation Report below or watch the video at the bottom to find out what you should do when you see a monk seal in the wild.

If you see a monk seal

 

ΜΟm operates the Hellenic Rescue and Information Network (RINT), which enables the Rescue Team of MOm to respond to emergency cases, i.e., when sick, wounded or orphan monk seal pups are found and require human assistance in order to survive.

If you encounter a monk seal it is important to know what to do in order for you and the seal to be safe.

1. If you encounter a seal in the water: Do not panic, do not make sudden movements, do not try to approach the seal and always respect its space. NEVER aim at the seal with a spear gun – monk seals are docile animals but might become aggressive, like any other wild animal, if they feel threatened. Remember that seals are highly mobile in the water and their vision and hearing are far superior to ours. Respect the seals’ need for space and adhere to the recommended safety distances in order to admire this magnificent marine mammal in peace!

2. In a marine cave: Do not panic and do not try to enter further into the cave, where a mother with her newborn pup might be resting. Try to move slowly away, by swimming close to the walls of the cave and without blocking its exit. Always remember that monk seals in the water and in marine caves are in their natural environment, and that they most likely do not want to be disturbed.

3. On land: Monk seals come often on land to rest, especially during their molting period. However, in some cases, an animal might still require assistance, particularly if it is sick or injured. Remain vigilant and observe the behavior of the animal from a safe distance without disturbing it to see if there are any signs of injury or distress – if so, please call the Monk Seal Hotline.

General rules of behavior
• STAY at least 30 m away from the seal and always behind the cordoned–off area that has been secured by the Port Police authorities or the Rescue Team of MOm.


• AVOID making noise in the presence of a seal on land, and DO NOT THROW sand, rocks or other objects in order to attract its attention. As every other wild animal, a seal needs peace and quiet and deserves respect.


• DO NOT throw water to a seal. If an animal is on land it most likely wants to stay DRY!


• NEVER FEED a seal, neither on land nor in the water!


• NEVER BLOCK the escape route of a seal towards the sea.


• NEVER ALLOW children to approach a seal on a beach; the behavior of a wild animal is always unpredictable and it could injure someone.


• KEEP PETS AT A DISTANCE, as they might be carriers of dangerous diseases to the Mediterranean monk seal.


• CAREFULLY OBSERVE the size and color of the seal and note down if it bears any characteristic scars or wounds.

Get into contact with the nearest Port Police authority to report the incident and inform immediately MOm by calling +30 210 5222888 or +30 6942494471.

MOm will record the information and will advise you accordingly. If deemed necessary, the Rescue Team will respond immediately. Please contact MOm as soon as possible, even in the case of a dead monk seal. The examination and necropsy of a dead animal provides extremely important scientific data that will help us save other seals.

Useful links:
Mediterranean monk seal sighting report
Become a member of the Hellenic Rescue and Information Network (RINT)

You can also watch this video-animation to find out what you should do in case you come across a Mediterranean monk seal in the wild. This video and our rehabilitation and rescue actions are implemented under the Project "Actions to Support the National Rescue & Rehabilitation Information Network", funded by the Greek Fund