Mediterranean monk seal sighted off the coast of Rosh HaNikra. (Shutterstock.com)
Mediterranean monk seal sighted off the coast of Rosh HaNikra. (Shutterstock.com)

Israeli conservationists are excited by the third recorded sighting of a critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal off the coast of Rosh HaNikra. The extremely rare sea, an unusual sight in local waters, swam from Lebanon to Israel to hunt fish.

Israeli naval lookouts sighted the seal last week.

The Mediterranean monk seal is the world’s second-rarest pinniped and one of the most endangered mammals in the world. According to the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, the Mediterranean monk seal was once abundant throughout the Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea and north Atlantic. Today, the seals can be found on the west coast of Africa and on the coasts of Greece and Turkey – albeit in few numbers.

Israeli conservationists said this was the seal’s third visit to local shores. The seal, which crossed the maritime border between Lebanon and Israel, has markings and scars that make it easy to identify. It was spotted near Herzliya in 2010 and again last summer off the coast of Rosh HaNikra.