Subject: Monk Seals: evidence for monk seals in the West Indies (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Mon, 2 Nov 1998 10:02:16 -0500 (EST)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 2 Nov 1998 10:18:14 -0800
From: MARMAM Editors <marmamed@UVic.CA>
Reply-To: Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
Subject: evidence for monk seals in the West Indies (fwd)

MARMAM subscribers might be interested in the following:

Boyd, I.L., and M.P. Stanfield. 1998. Circumstantial evidence for the
presence of monk seals in the West Indies. Oryx 32:310-316.

Based on interviews with 93 fishermen in northern Haiti and Jamaica
during 1997 an assessment was made of the likelihood that monk seals
survive in this region of the West Indies. Fishermen were asked to
select marine species known to them from randomly arranged pictures:
22.6 per cent (n=21) selected monk seals. This number was
significantly (P < 0.001) greater than the number who selected
control species (walrus, harbour seal, and sea-lion) that they were
unlikely to have observed. However, it was not significantly
different (n=19, P > 0.1) from the number who selected manatees,
which are known to occur in the region in small numbers. More than 95
per cent of respondents also identified species that are known to
occur commonly in the region. Further questioning of the 21
respondents who selected monk seals suggested that 16 (78 per cent)
of them had seen at least one in the past 1-2 years. Those fishermen
that were able to provide further descriptions gave information about
size and colour that was consistent with many of these seals being
monk seals. It is possible that the Caribbean monk seal is not

I.L. Boyd, British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research
Council, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET UK

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