Caribbean monk seal becomes extinct

June 9, 2008 7:42:47 AM PDT
The Caribbean monk seal has gone extinct. The sea mammal had long been thought to be extinct, but the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration on Friday said it was official. The last confirmed sighting of the Caribbean monk seal was in 1952 between Jamaica and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

The animals were native to the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Biologists say humans left the population unsustainable after over-hunting the docile creatures for food and blubber.

The federal agency warns that the Hawaiian and Mediterranean monk seals could be next. There are fewer than 1,200 Hawaiian and 500 Mediterranean monk seals remaining.

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