Monk seal, at risk of extinction, sighted off Lampedusa

Sighted off island

02 November, 15:25

    (ANSAmed) - PALERMO, NOVEMBER 2 - Monk seals have been sighted off Lampedusa in an increasingly rare event for this mammal, who was in the past very common in the Mediterranean.

    Monk seals had almost entirely disappeared from the area since the 1960s. But the ''veal of the sea'', as this mammal was known in the past, or ''Vòio marinu'' (marine ox), as this animal is known on the island, has an ancient connection to Lampedusa. In 1832 botanist Giovanni Gussoni said that monk seals lived in caves along the island's coast. In 1843 frigate captain Bernardo Sanvisente wrote in his report on Lampedusa that ''seals, vulgarly called marine calves, rest in caves located in the east''. The sea in this area is where caretta caretta turtles lay their eggs on Pelagian beaches and where dolphins and whales can be sighted. Sighting a monk seal is ''an exceptional event'' said the mayor of Lampedusa and Linosa, Totò Martello, adding that ''our island and our sea continue to be a marvel of nature''.(ANSAmed). (ANSA).

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