MOm - Mediterranean Monk Seal

Link to the wild

Supporting the work of MOm (The Hellenic society for the study and protection of the Monk Seal) 

The Project

Aiding in the protection of Europe’s most endangered Marine Mammal. Supporting MOm in the creation of a new Marine Protected Area (MPA) around Gyaros island

The Target

MOm have been operating in the Mediterranean for over 30 years. They initially started as a monitoring network collecting population surveys in the 1980’s on one of the worlds rarest seals - the Mediterranean’s only seal species. MOm has grown into a modern holistic conservation charity, focusing on the three main goals required for successful conservation:

- Community involvement, education and the law to ensure support and longevity.

- Quality data collection and species information to focus conservation efforts.

- Rescue and rehabilitation centre to safeguard the existing population.

We have been fortunate during our support of MOm over the past few years to contribute to the collection of data on remote breeding caves with the use of camera traps to both better understand the species life history and breeding success in areas previously thought to be too close to human habitation. Initial monitoring and sightings prompted 2014 – 2018 breeding cave research.

For 2019 we will be supporting MOm in the process of creating a new Marine Protected Area (MPA) around Gyaros island in the Cycledes region, which consists of a group of 220 islands to the south of the Argosaronic Gulf.

This new MPA will be the first to focus on the Monk seal and its breeding caves as the primary species of protection.

The current network of Natura 2000 MPAs protect sea bird colonies and rare marine habitats. However, MOm aims to raise the profile of the Monk Seal as it’s presence and survival can be seen as a marker of a healthy marine environment.  

This project not only brings together many of the projects MOm have been working towards but also requires the involvement of other charities and government bodies. MOm will provide on the ground monitoring of how the Monk Seals use the region for feeding and breeding.

Thanks to Blair Drummond Safari Park's visitors kind donations, we are contributing to MOm's great work.

Where your money goes


Project Leaders

Nikki, Alex & Erin - The Sea Lion Team

As part of a national effort lead by the BIAZA Mammal Working Group, we, along with the vast majority of establishments working with marine mammals in the UK are focusing our fund raising and awareness campaigns on the Mediterranean Monk seals. We have supported MOm in previous years, with the struggle to understand and conserve Europe’s rarest seal close to all our hearts, we look forward to raising the profile of this charismatic and elusive species.

Common name
Mediterranean Monk Seal
Scientific name
Monachus monachus
11 to 12 years
Fast facts
• Adult seals can reach a length of 2.8 m and weigh as much as 300 kg.
• The Mediterranean monk seal is one of the largest “true” seal species
• New-born pups are approximately 1m long when born and weigh 15 - 18 kg. Pups possess a soft and woolly pelt or “lanugo”, which is approximately 1 – 1.5 cm long.
• Monk seal survival seems to be very dependent on the existence of suitable pupping caves.
Conservation status
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