DS02-C7-MH- 370

Youngsters of the colony

At this time of the year “Costa de las Focas” reserve is full of what we call youngsters, but what is really a youngster on a monk seal?

It is an age category in between a pup and young, but why is it essential to have an intermediate age category? is it really necessary? Well, we think it is.

For a monk seal, a pup is an animal from firstborn to the first molt, that comes around the second month of life, and a monk seal is a young when it reaches six-eight months of age.

Pups fur is black, and young’s are grey, and youngsters are grey but their body is chubby and their faces still resemble a pup. Youngsters still feed on milk until around four months of age. Is on this time, when weaning, when they start to be less seen at the colony.

Youngsters are the age category with one of the biggest mortality rate. Since 2009 (before that date, this age category was not being monitored), the program has detected that close to 50% of pups that reach 2 months of age died or disappeared before being 6 months old.

This monitoring has given the program very useful and important information to start new actions in order to understand the causes behind all those deaths and the actions to revert the situation.

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