The IUCN Species Survival Commission Seal Specialist Group has devised an Action Plan for the conservation of the species, the aims of which include the involvement of local fishermen, research into the status of the species and the development of a captive breeding programme (7). A Greek National Programme for the Protection of the Monk Seal has been established, aiming to prevent human-induced mortalities of the species and to restore and maintain a viable self-supporting population (6). Some experts believe that the removal of pups from a population, to supply a captive programme, could severely affect breeding within the wild population, and injure the pups concerned (7). Captive breeding is usually recommended for mammal species of such low numbers as this and with threats continuing in the wild, but concerns that removing young seals from the wild will not severely affect breeding in the wild and will not injure or negatively affect survival of the captured young must be adequately addressed (11). It is clear that determined action is urgently required if this reclusive, beleaguered species is to escape total extinction.
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