IUCN threat status:

Critically Endangered (CR)

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Description

The Mediterranean monk seal is one of the most endangered mammals in the world (5). The description of this species by Aristotle was the first known written description of a pinniped (a group that includes seals, sea lions and walrus) (2), and the head of a monk seal appeared on one of the first ever coins, around 500 BC (5). Adults have a brown or grey coat, which becomes paler on the undersurface (2) and males often feature a white patch on the belly (5). Old males are darker in colour and often become black, but retain the ventral white patch. Newborn infants are black and woolly with a white or yellow patch on the belly, the shape of which can sometimes be used to determine the sex of an individual (2).

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Source: ARKive

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