The killing of a beloved monk seal has been met with outrage in Greece, after it was found harpooned to death this week.
Kostis, an orphaned Mediterranean monk seal, became a local celebrity on Alonnisos in the Northern Sporades islands, after he was rescued by fishermen following a storm in 2018.
However, non-profit conservationist group MOm, the Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal, was alerted by the coastguard that Kostis had been found killed in waters near Alonnisos on July 24.
Releasing a picture of Kostis’ dead body, the organisation said the seal had been killed deliberately, stating: “The innocent and unaware seal was executed at close range with a spear gun that had a large spear for exactly that purpose.”
MOm is now calling on the authorities to “bring the person(s) responsible for this barbarous act to justice”, stating that it will file charges against anybody responsible for the death.
It is offering an €18k reward for information or evidence about the seal’s death.
MOm said in an announcement on Saturday: “Unfortunately, yet again, it is proven that human wickedness and stupidity have no limits.”
Mediterranean monk seals are the world’s most endangered species, with just 750 remaining, and many found in Greek waters.
The seal had become a mascot for Alonissos after he was rescued by fisherman as a baby in 2018, when a storm washed him away to the island of Folegandros.
He was looked after at MOm’s rescue centre in the town before returning to the wild.
The organisation added: “This news was received with great grief and outraged not only the people of MOm (who cared for several moths for Kostis during his rehabilitation) but also all the sensitised residents and visitors of Alonnisos.”
The local prosecutor has ordered an investigation into the seal’s death, Reuters reported.
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