Once widespread throughout the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and the northwestern coast of Africa, this monk seal has suffered a devastating decline (2). It is now restricted to a handful of small and scattered colonies in the Ionian and Aegean Seas and the southern coast of Turkey in the Mediterranean, as well as scattered populations on the coasts of the western Sahara and Mauritania, and the Desertas Islands, Madeira (2). It is thought that just two of these populations are viable, in Greece and northwest Africa (6). The species has not been seen in the Black Sea for over five years (7). Although no reliable estimates of total population size exist, it is thought to number between just 400 to 500 individuals (6) (8), and is declining (7).
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