Two rare monk seals have been spotted in the municipal baths area of Paphos in the past few days.
The appearance of the two large seals were reported to port police by the president of the association of winter swimmers Mattheos Ierokipiotis, who said swimmers were very excited about seeing the animals close up.
The seals have been spotted occasionally in previous years at the coastline from Paphos to Akamas, Ierokipiotis said. They are known to have spawned and proliferated in the sea caves of the area.
According to the department of fisheries and marine research, each sighting is recorded on the ministry’s database and last year there were between 7 and 10 of these rare animals around the island.
True to their name “monachus monachus” in Latin and “monk” in English, they don’t move around in colonies but people usually see one at a time, maximum two.
The critically endangered species is threatened by the loss and degradation of habitats in Cyprus and in other Mediterranean countries.