Back to Freedom

At the beginning of February, our Greek partners at MOm released a young Mediterranean monk seal back into the Aegean Sea. Prior to that, they had intensively nursed the marine mammal over a period of four months after he had been found, starving and separated from his mother, by local fishermen.

To men releasing a monk seal from a cage

Moment of freedom

© P.Dendrinos/MOm
A monk seal in shallow water

Kostas in the breakers

© P.Dendrinos/MOm

At first, Costas, as the young monk seal was called, looked a little doubtful as the cage door was opened, but just a few moments later he was enjoying the breaking waves of the Mediterranean once more. Four months earlier, the young pup had been found exhausted and undernourished on Folegandros, one of the Cyclades group of islands in the Aegean Sea. He had probably been washed out of his cave and unable to find his mother again.

Costas was immediately taken to the MOm rehabilitation centre, where the seal conservationists there provided him with medical care and fed him a diet of fish. As a result, he was soon weighing in at an impressive 30 kilos. Once Costas had finished moulting and had also passed his final medical checks, it was just a case of waiting for a spell of fine weather before - after 18 weeks of care in the National Marine Park of Alonissos and Northern Sporades - our partners at MOm were able to release him back to freedom.

Costas is one of 32 young Mediterranean monk seals, who, in the last 30 years, have been cared for by MOm and then returned to the wild. With a population in the Mediterranean that still numbers just 350 individuals, every rescued seal represents a great success for the establishment of these rare marine mammals in the Aegean Sea.

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