Swimming for the monk seal

The Croatian free water swimmer Dina Levačić has been swimming in potential monk seal territories. Her campaign is aimed at drawing attention to the threats to this rare marine mammal.

Free swimmer prepares herself

The swimming cap is on: Dina Levačić is ready for the eight-kilometre course.

© Miroslav Lelas/None Of The Above
Open water swimmers in front of seal cave in the Adriatic Sea

Dina Levačić and Darko Hren in front of the Medvidina water cave

© Miroslav Lelas/None Of The Above
Dina Levačić and a painted seal

Prominent support for an endangered species: Dina Levačić in front of the monk seal mural

© Melani Glavinić/BIOM

Cape Stupišće and the island of Biševo are separated by only eight kilometres of sea, not a particularly long distance for the internationally successful free water swimmer Dina Levačić. Together with the Psychology professor Dr. Darko Hren she swam the stretch on 14th June in just over two and a half hours, avoiding on the way an approaching storm, adverse sea currents and numerous jelly fish. The Medvidina water cave was the venue for several photos of Levačić und Hren. This cave is one of the most suitable habitats in Croatia for the Mediterranean monk seals – but as is the case for the whole of the Dalmatian coast, it is very popular amongst tourists and holiday makers. Secluded areas that are suitable for the females to give birth are thus few and far between.

“Even if we cannot perhaps see the monk seals, it does not mean they’re not there. So we need to look out for beaches and caves which might be suitable for the seals, and do everything we can to protect these habitats”, said Dina Levačić explaining the campaign. Darko Hren, who has also used the campaign to draw attention to the theme of mental health and sea bathing, agreed with her: “When we are in or near the sea, we must never forget that this is the home of the monk seals.”

In addition to the swimming campaign in the Adriatic, Dina Levačić, in conjunction with our partners from BIOM, has also called for further consideration for the monk seal. In the town of Komiža, she visited a mural of a monk seal specially designed for this campaign, and in Vis biologists from BIOM held lectures on the protection of these rare marine mammals and included many stories from Levačić’s und Hren’s adventures. Furthermore, there were joint environmental education activities with children in the region.

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