Press Release: Monk seal(Monachus monachus) colony discovered by Terra Sylvestris in the Inner Ionian Archipelago in Greece

A colony of the endangered Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) was discovered by researchers of the Marine ecosystems monitoring program of the Kalamos and Kastos sustainable development project run by the nongovernmental organization Terra Sylvestris. The discovery was made in the area of the inner Ionian archipelago in Western Greece. 

The initial estimates based on preliminary data analysis of the number of individuals of the colony is at present in the range of 20 to 30 individuals but more accurate estimates are needed to finalize a relative number at present. This is an important discovery since there are only another three confirmed remaining colonies of the species in the world on the basis of the scientific literature. 

These are in Cabo Blanco in Mauritania In Turkey in and Gyaros island area in the central Aegean Sea in Greece
 This discovery is of particular importance since the area the inner Ionian colony was discovered faces several anthropogenic threats mostly from Industries especially aquaculture and oil and gas exploration and is in an important area for the conservation of biodiversity worldwide.

 The monitoring program utilizes direct observations, forensic ecology techniques and appropriate wildlife cameras to examine the population dynamics and behaviour of the colony but also the species in the region in general. 
 The program additionally aims at quantifying and studying the anthropogenic stress and threats for the species 
The data collected is of high value and will allow the organization to use these to better protect the species and the ecosystem that hosts it The information will be used by Terra Sylvestris to directly protect the species and its ecosystem on the ground with direct actions, legal actions and advocacies geared towards this objective .
 In this context the main objective that this data is planned to be used towards is that of assisting the local communities of the islands of Kalamos and Kastos to protect and restore their ancestral domains including rights that they have to these on land and sea as part of their overall objective of protecting and restoring their environment and ecosystems including their ancestral fishing grounds . 
These domains and the communities are principally threatened from industries such as aquaculture and oil and gas exploration.
 The program is at present ongoing and more press releases and other types of appropriate publications of the relevant information are planned for the near future by Terra Sylvestris. 

 ©Terra Sylvestris 2019