WASHINGTON (CN) -The Caribbean monk seal is extinct, according to the National Marine Fisheries Services, which is asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist the seal under the Endangered Species Act.
The first documented sighting of the seal was during Columbus’ second voyage in 1494 when several were taken for their meat. The last confirmed sighting was in 1952 off of Columbia. In years since, sightings have been reported in the seal’s historic range. But, none have been confirmed. This, and the fact that there have been many confirmed sightings of arctic seals or California sea lions escaped from captivity, in the historic range, lead the NMFS to determine that the recent purported sightings have not been of Carribean monk seals.
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