Formicula islet, covering only about 400 m2, is just a “drop” in the wider Inner Ionian Archipelago. Despite its small size, this islet provides a key habitat for the Mediterranean Monk Seal, the only seal present in the Mediterranean and one of the most endangered marine mammal species in the World.
In addition to monk seals, the area is of enormous ecological importance for Poseidonia meadows and other marine species, such as small mammals, birds and groupers.
Despite its high importance, no protection measures are in place…yet!
iSea, Tethys Research Institute, Blue Marine Foundation together with the Municipality of Lefkada during the last year are in communication for the protection of the area with the Ministry of Environment and Energy and Mr. Giorgos Amyras. As a result, the proposed management measures for the protection of Formicula an islet are included in the Special Environmental Study of the area which is now in public consultation. However, the long bureaucratic procedures for the enforcement of Formicula’s protection are cause for strong concern because of the adverse effects that such delay may have on the Mediterranean Monk Seal population in the islet and wider Ionian Sea. With the start of the busy tourist season, some irresponsible visitors seek to swim with the seals, sometimes even entering the caves. Τhe latter is of key importance for the reproductive success and well-being of these endangered animals.
We are glad to see that effective conservation measures for the protection of the area were included in the Special Environmental Study and we hope that they will be included as they are in the corresponding Action Plan. Nevertheless, the clock is ticking! There is no time to be wasted. We call for the immediate adoption and enforcement of measures for the protection of the area before summer, before it is too late!
Find our common letter here.