Sad news. Extinct Monk Seal Removed From Endangered Species List November 09, 2008 12:26 PM
Last week, the final bell tragically tolled for the Caribbean monk seal when the National Marine Fisheries Service removed its Endangered Species Act protections -- not because it recovered, but because it's extinct.
Last sighted in 1952, the seal was put on the federal endangered species list in 1967 in the hope it would be rediscovered, but to no avail. The species' spiral toward extinction began as far back as 1494, when Columbus noted it was easy prey for hunters seeking food, blubber, and skins.
The Caribbean monk seal is the first seal species to go extinct solely due to human causes -- but if we're not careful, it won't be the last. The endangered Hawaiian and Mediterranean monk seals are both dwindling fast due to global warming, sea-level rise, and other factors. The Center for Biological Diversity is currently working to gain more protected habitat for the Hawaiian monk seal.
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