Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Caribbean monk seal - Officially extinct

Caribbean monk seal has become first officially extinct species of seal. This animal that was once native to the Caribbean sea and Gulf of Mexico was last time spotted in 1952 at Seranilla Bank, between Jamaica and the Yucatan Peninsula, and on June 6, 2008, after five years of futile efforts to find or confirm sightings of any Caribbean monk seals, the U.S. government announced that the species is officially extinct and this has become first seal to vanish due to human causes.

The main reason for extinction of Caribbean monk seal is excessive overhunting which lead to their extinction. Caribbean monk seal was listed as endangered species in 1967, and now officially declared extinct will be removed from endangered species list. The most difficult period for these animals was between 1700-1900 when they were exploited mainly for their blubber, which was later processed into oil and used for lubrication, coating the bottom of boats, and as lamp and cooking oil.

Two more monk seal species, Hawaiian and Mediterranean monk seals are also endangered and threatened with extinction. The populations of these two remaining species are having serious decline, with Hawaiian population declining at a rate of about four percent per year. And after we lost Caribbean monk seal we really have to do our best to preserve these remaining two species. And though the fisheries have already developed a monk seal recovery plan, monk seals will need more public attention, and support from politics and other organizations in order to escape extinction.

And we will need to act quickly because current decline rate shows that we do not have luxury of time. Caribbean monk seal tragic destiny should open our eyes and force us to act quickly and save the remaining two species.

Caribbean monk seal officially extinct - All what is left are drawings

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