In total, nineteen Mediterranean monk seals, known as monachus monachus, have been located in Cyprus, while in the last few days 4 to 5 have been seen in Ayia Napa, Melina Marcou, an officer of the Fisheries Department has told CNA, urging people not to bother them during this crucial period of reproduction.

In statements to CNA, Marcou said that “this specific period is very important for the monacus monachus seal, since it is the period of its reproduction and it needs quiet.”

“It is important for people not to go to the area were the seals are and not to bother them,” she noted, adding that recently quite a few people have been observed going to the rocks or diving in the sea to photograph them and take videos.”

The seal, she explained, needs isolation to give birth and if it is bothered on a daily basis and it doesn`t feel comfortable it will leave the area. Another possibility is that the seal will give birth in an unsuitable cave where because baby seals cannot swim, they may drown, or the seal may abandon the baby which will then likely die. 

“People need to protect the monachus monachus seal at this crucial period, leaving it in peace to give birth and help its babies grow,” she stressed

Marcou also said that fishermen`s contribution is also very important for the protection of the monachus monachus species.

In total, 19 Mediterranean monk seals have been located in Cyprus, she said, adding that they use caves in protected areas. In Ayia Napa 4 to 5 seals have been observed entering and leaving the caves in recent days, adding that it is believed that the only reason they have not used these caves in the past is human presence.

In particular, she pointed out, there are two large females, one male and two younger seals observed using the caves from cameras set up by the Fisheries Department.

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