Camera traps bring you closer to the secretive natural world and are an important conservation tool to study wildlife. This week we’re meeting one of the most endangered seal species in the world: the Mediterranean monk seal. Mediterranean monk seals (Monachus monachus) are coastal marine mammals that were once found across the Mediterranean and in parts of the eastern Atlantic and the Black Sea. Now the seals are scattered in three or four isolated populations across Mauritania in Africa, the Portuguese island of Madeira, and the Greek and Turkish coastlines. In total, there are only 350 to 450 mature Mediterranean monk seals left in the wild. The video footage was taken in the caves of the Inner Ionian Marine Protected Area in Western Greece. These marine caves are usually used by seals for resting and pupping. In the past, Mediterranean monk seals were hunted by humans for their fur, oil and meat. Today there is no commercial exploitation of this species. Most of their decline nowadays is due to human impact, in the form of ocean pollution and the destruction of coastal habitats. They are also victims of deliberate killing by fishermen in retaliation for eating fish; and accidental entanglement and drowning in fishing nets. Thanks to conservation efforts in 2015 the species was upgraded by the IUCN from Critically Endangered to Endangered. To see a further increase in their populations, scientists recommend urgent protection of their habitat and mitigating negative interactions between seals and fisheries. Watch the video to learn…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer