A majority of the population of the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal –Monachus monachus– live in Greece. Indeed, there are now only 300 individuals of this species remaining. While monk seals are widely distributed along the entire coastline of the country, their strong preference for isolated and inaccessible areas makes it difficult for scientists and researchers to understand and analyse their behaviours (e.g. breeding patterns and feeding).
A further challenge we faced was the need for greater awareness around the monk seal and its habitat. The consequences of the busy tourist season are deeply felt by this animal that prefers quiet and solitude. Locals on the islands see monachus monachus so rarely that there is almost zero awareness of her existence.
To combat these challenges, CPF is happy to have supported MOm, the Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal, in creating a short film which helped to inform the general public about marine life preservation and to increase awareness of the extremely rich biodiversity of the Cyclades islands. The film also informed viewers about conservation measures which are required to protect this elegant mammal.
What does this project deliver in practice?
With the CPF’s grant, MOm created and disseminated a short film presenting the richness of the marine and coastal biodiversity of the Cyclades islands, focusing on the existence of important reproductive populations of the Mediterranean monk seal, the only seal species in the Mediterranean and the rarest seal on the planet.
To create the video, unique footage from MOm’s extensive archives was used, along with new material that was captured in the wild for the purpose of this film. The film was then distributed to all the local state and private bodies (Primary and Secondary Education Directorates, TV Stations) and it will also be included in the organisation’s Environmental Education Program to be used in their visits to schools, as well as in various local and international public awareness campaigns.
Supported by the National Geographic Society, MOm’s marine biologists were able to put together a beautiful educational film, which you can watch at the following link:
A bit about the organisation
MOm / The Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk seal is a Greek non–governmental environmental organisation with the legal status of a Non–profit association. MOm works to protect and promote the coastal and marine environments of Greece through the protection of the Mediterranean monk seal, which is the only seal species in the Mediterranean Sea and the most endangered seal on earth.
Since 1996, MOm has been a member of IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), the largest organisation in the world for the protection of the natural environment and has participated with a representative in the Seal Specialist Group.
MOm’s scientific research, conservation and education activities are carried out by a dedicated and highly-specialised team of professionals (i.e. biologists, field technicians, media officers) with the help of numerous volunteers. MOm’s activities include:
- Rescue and Rehabilitation
- Protection and Management
- Public Awareness and Sensitization
- Environmental Education