International collaboration for the Conservation of Monk Seals (ICCMS)

Originally there were 3 different monk seal species in the world, very further apart geographically speaking. One of them, the Caribbean monk seal (Neomonachus tropicalis), went extinct by mid-XX century.

Today, the Hawaiian monk seal (Neomonachus schauinslandi) and the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus), still survive even if both critically endangered according to the red list of the UICN: Hawaiian monk seal and Mediterranean monk seal .

With the aim of exploring new ways of international collaboration for the protection of these two species, the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program (HMSRP), dependent of the NOAA Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center (USA), organized the ICCMS workshop between April 6th and 17th, at the archipelago of Hawaii, with the participation of experts coming from USA, Greece, Portugal, Mauritania and Spain. 4 technicians of CBD-Habitat foundation went to this event.

The first days of the workshop, there were analized and discussed the situation and problematic of both species, as well as the different techniques and methodologies used for the monitoring of their populations; Evaluating the tools use today for their management and protection.

On the following days, meetings and field work were simultaneously performed at Molokai island.

To sum up: this was a intense collective workshop, in which priorities were defined and information and experiences exchanged between the different groups that work with the species on the field. All of it has served to strength bond and acquire future collaboration agreements that without any doubt will affect on a very positive way on the protection of both species of monk seals.

No doubt about the excellence of this initiative! We want, via this post, to express our gratitude to the HMSRP group in Hawaii. Thanks and congratulation for the impeccable organization of the workshop and for the future expectations that were open!


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