Mascot of the Championship


The Mediterranean Monk Seal (lat. Monachus monachus), one of the the least populated and most endangered species of mammals is probably the rarest seal in the world.

Surviving number of representatives of this species is estimated to total only 500-600 individuals who reside mostly in the northeastern Mediterranean and the northeast Atlantic. Local  Croatian names for Mediterranean Monk Seals are morski čovik, morski medvid, morski fratar.

Male monk seals can grow up to 2.5 m and weigh up to 300 kg. Color is mostly black with white patches on the belly. Females are slightly smaller than males, mostly grayish color. It lives in small isolated groups of 5-7 individuals.

Daily eats about 13 kg of food, dives to 25 meters deep to retain under the sea 5 to 7 minutes. Can live more than 30 years. In Croatia species is protected by national and international regulations.

The past few years Monk Seals sightings around the island of Cres have increased significantly, raising the possibility of return and settlement in the waters where once dwelt constantly.

Movement of individuals in the Adriatic is topic of investigation of the "Group of Mediterranean Monk Seal" association lead almost twenty years by biologist Jasna Antolović in collaboration with international researchers of Mediterranean Monk Seal colonies, especially Italian experts of Group Focca Monaco from Rome, and colleagues from Turkey, Greece and Albania. Return of this rare mammal in Cres waters is evidence of preserved and pleasant environment for one another endangered species.

Choice of the Monk Seal as mascot of IOM - European Championship is the link between this sport and nature contributing to the conservation of endangered species.

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