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Grey seal Halichoerus grypus in the Black Sea: the first case of long-term survival of an exotic pinniped

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 March 2013

E.V. Gladilina*
Affiliation:
Taurida National University, 4, Vernadsky Avenue, Simferopol, Crimea, 95007Ukraine
O.A. Kovtun
Affiliation:
I.I. Mechnikov Odessa National University, 2, Dvoryanskaya Str., Odessa, 65026Ukraine
A.A. Kondakov
Affiliation:
Institute of Arid Zones, Southern Scientific Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 41 Chekhov Avenue, Rostov-on-Don, 344006Russia
A.M. Syomik
Affiliation:
South Scientific Research Institute of Marine Fisheries and Oceanography, 2 Sverdlova Str., Kerch, Crimea, 98300Ukraine
K.K. Pronin
Affiliation:
I.I. Mechnikov Odessa National University, 2, Dvoryanskaya Str., Odessa, 65026Ukraine
P.E. Gol'din
Affiliation:
Taurida National University, 4, Vernadsky Avenue, Simferopol, Crimea, 95007Ukraine
*
Correspondence should be addressed to: E.V. Gladilina, Taurida National University, 4, Vernadsky Avenue, Simferopol, Crimea, 95007Ukraine email: el.gladilina@gmail.com
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Abstract

A grey seal (Halichoerus grypus), representative of the North Atlantic species, has been recorded in the north-east Black Sea. It is the first documented case of successful long-term survival of an exotic pinniped. We have been receiving data about regular sightings of the seal identified as the observed individual since 2001. It is a 160–170 cm long adult female. The seal used an underwater cave as a shelter. The most likely way of introduction of the grey seal to the Black Sea is escape from captivity. According to available data (body size and moulting seasonality), we tentatively identify it as a representative of the Baltic subspecies. The biotope requirements of the grey seal and monk seal are similar: both species use coastal karst caves and grottos. In addition, the seal's presence in this region is a marker of the lack of anthropogenic disturbance. Thus, the survival of a seal in this region indicates the possibility of successful re-colonization of the Black Sea by monk seals.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 2013

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Grey seal Halichoerus grypus in the Black Sea: the first case of long-term survival of an exotic pinniped
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