Cabo de Gata

246 loggerhead turtles hatch in Cabo de Gata

September 30th, 2008

Newly hatched turtle being measured (CSIC)

246 eggs of loggerhead turtles (tortuga boba – Caretta caretta) have hatched in the last few days on a beach in Cabo de Gata, Almeria. The eggs were taken from Cabo Verde, where a third of the world’s population of Caretta caretta lives, and form part of a reintroduction programme of the Junta de Andalucía, CSIC and the Canarian goverment (Loggerhead turtles in Fuerteventura). They have been taken to a reintoriduction sent which will raise them for the first few months to reduce mortality rates. El Mundo

It will take at least 15 years to be able to begin to measure the success of the project when hopefully some of those turtles hatched will return to the same beach as adults. Small populations of loggerhead turtle in the Mediterranean exist in the Turkey and Greece.

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Monk seal spotted off coast of Mallorca

June 17th, 2008

Remarkable news. A diver from Palma claims to have seen (and taken photo above) a possible monk seal (foca monje – Monachus monachus) in the marine reserve of Isla del Toro. The monk seal is considered to be extinct is the Balearic Islands (where it was known popularly as the vell marí – old man of the sea) since the late 1950s, and is among the ten most endangered mammals in the world, with colonies divided between Mauritania and the Eastern Mediterranean, the former being far the stronger. If true, I imagine we are talking about an animal in dispersion or just plain lost. The Balearic government periodically considers the possibility of attempting to reintroduce the animal. Whether it would fare well in an area of sea so popular with pleasure craft is another question. See more in El País

Update: this version of the story from Libertad Balear is much better researched.

There is also a half plan to reintroduce the animal along the Costa Brava (La foca monje volverá a Cadaqués – El País)

A small group of monk seals survived in Cabo de Gata, Almeria until the 1960s.

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