What is the world’s most endangered seal?


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The Mediterranean monk seal is a phocid or “true” seal, and is the rarest and most endangered of all pinnipeds with only an estimated 600 alive in the world. These seals belong to the same genus (Monachus) as the Hawaiian monk seals and Caribbean monk seals. All three of these monk seal species are considered to be either critically endangered (Hawaiian and Mediterranean) or extinct (Caribbean).

Mediterranean monk seals can be found in warm temperate, subtropical and tropical waters of the Mediterranean Sea and the east Atlantic Ocean. They are considered shy of people and prefer isolated haul-out sites and sea caves or grottos where females give birth and nurse their young.

There is debate whether the Hawaiian Monk Seal or the Mediterranean Monk Seal is more critically endangered. So consider yourself correct if you said either of these closely-related animals.