CBD-Habitat and its partners strongly believe that there is still a chance for this species. It is true that only a few of us could be at the field taking action, but without the support of Ocean Care among others, we would not be able to work at where we do: a very remote 6 Km coastal reserve called “Costa de las focas” at the western African coast, on an area called Cabo Blanco peninsula, where almost half of the entire world population of the Mediterranean monk seal survives.

Guest blog from Mercedes Muñoz Cañas
(c) CBD-HabitatWhen that reserve was created on 2001, about 109 seals were estimated. Today, less than 15 years later, and thanks to a great effort and support of all the partners and believers, the population is estimated to be 250.

What has been the secret of this incredible success? Well for me the keys are: very hard work, positive attitude and strong believe that this recovery not only was possible but it was going to be real.


This year makes the 10th since the first time I saw one monk seal swimming free and carefree at the reserve “Costa de las Focas”. The feeling was incredible: a beautiful group of animals were in front of one of the breeding caves, floating and playing, when all of the sudden and just for a moment, one of this wild animals looked at me, much more curious than afraid, before going back to its playmates.

(c) CBD-HabitatSo much has been done since that date when I irremediably became a believer, since I understood that we still had a chance. I, as my colleagues already did, understood how hard the path was going to be, but we all believed that it was going to be possible: the Mediterranean monk seal would pass with our help, the difficult moment it was confronting and it would be able to recover for enjoyment of all who love this species and wild life in general.

But even though very much has been done, we cannot stop working or relax. 250 animals rise hopes but are not enough. They are still in great danger because unfortunately, they face many threats that have to be fight.

But we, who work on this program, among our partners like Ocean Care, know that not too long ago we started to walk on the right path without hesitation, because even though we know it is a very difficult path, we know as well that every step we take on it, we take the Mediterranean monk seal a little bit farther away from the brink of extinction.

(c) CBD-Habitat
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