monachus guardian monk seal

Dedicated to Monk Seals and their Threatened Habitats

MONK SEAL LIBRARY – RECOMMENDED READING

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Johnson, William M. and David M. Lavigne. 1999. Monk seals in antiquity. The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) in ancient history and literature. Mededelingen 35. The Netherlands Commission for International Nature Protection, Leiden: 1-101., 17 figs.


Johnson, William M. 2004. Monk seals in post-classical history. The role of the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) in European history and culture, from the fall of Rome to the 20th century. Mededelingen 39. The Netherlands Commission for International Nature Protection, Leiden: 1-91, 31 figs.


Two titles focusing on “Europe’s most endangered marine mammal,” the Mediterranean monk seal, and its role in the history, culture and ecological decline of the Mediterranean Sea.

Although it may be thought of as an obscure species today, its very survival hanging by a thread, the Mediterranean monk seal has appeared in numerous writings inked onto papyrus, parchment or paper during the last 3000 years.

Homer, Aristotle, Hippocrates, Plutarch, Galen, Avicenna and Gesner are among some of the ancient and Renaissance world luminaries who recorded observations about the Mediterranean seal and its relationship to human culture, folklore, science and economy.

With the monk seal now sometimes referred to as an ecological barometer of the ailing sea it inhabits, this two-part history also seeks to explore the extent to which ancient human attitudes towards the species are still prevalent today.

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Johnson, William M. and David M. Lavigne. 1998. The Mediterranean Monk Seal. Conservation Guidelines. Multilingual Edition. International Marine Mammal Association Inc., Guelph, Ontario, Canada. pp. 152.

In recent years, conservation of the Mediterranean monk seal has been beset by poor coordination and information exchange. Arguably, this has created a climate in which fragmented and controversial actions have been able to thrive. Proving particularly contentious have been captive breeding and translocation initiatives, approved and funded without adequate consultation or review by the wider scientific and conservation community. Such controversies have served to cloud the conservation agenda and to divert attention, labour and scarce resources from more urgent priorities. In seeking to identify possible solutions to these problems, the authors compiled the Conservation Guidelines, based exclusively on international conference recommendations. Spanning over sixteen years of scientific research, field experience and informed debate, these reflect an extraordinary and encouraging consensus of opinion on conservation strategy for Mediterranean monk seals.

The original English-language version, published in 1995, has now been complemented by translations in French, Greek, Spanish and Turkish. The new edition also lists individual and organisational endorsements of the Guidelines, of which 78 have been received to date.

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Johnson, William M. and David M. Lavigne. 1994. Captive Breeding and the Mediterranean Monk Seal – A Focus on Antibes Marineland. International Marine Mammal Association Inc., Guelph, Canada. pp. 44.

An in-depth look at a commercial oceanarium’s attempts to capture Mediterranean monk seals, ostensibly for captive breeding.

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