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The most endangered seals in the world once called Australia home

By James Patrick Rule, Research Fellow, Monash University
Erich Fitzgerald, Senior Curator, Vertebrate Palaeontology, Museums Victoria
Justin W. Adams, Senior Lecturer, Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, Monash University
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Monk seals are one of the most endangered marine mammals alive today, with just over 2,000 individuals remaining in the wild. These seals live in warm waters, specifically the tropics and the Mediterranean.

Hunting by sailors in the past resulted in the extinction of the Caribbean monk seal by the end of the 1950s. It also heavily reduced the numbers of the two remaining populations, in Hawaii and the Mediterranean.

Given how rare monk seals are today, it is hard to imagine a time…


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