Home » World » Greek island mourns: beloved seal Kostis killed at close range with harpoon gun | Abroad

Greek island mourns: beloved seal Kostis killed at close range with harpoon gun | Abroad

Residents of a small Greek island are sad but, above all, furious after a spear fisherman deliberately kills seal Kostis. The animal had become their mascot, which they all came to love.

Kostis became the crowd favorite of the island of Alonissos after surviving storm Zorbas in 2018 as a young animal. He is named after the fisherman who rescued him. After his rescue, he was first cared for in a shelter of the organization MOm (Monachus Monachus), which is doing everything it can to protect the endangered monk seal. The animal was then released into its natural habitat, the Aegean Sea.

Kostis has been a welcome guest ever since. The monk seal was often spotted close to shore, lying on boats in the harbor and posing for photos. He became a fixture on the island and like a real charmer, he captured the hearts of the locals. People thought he was cute, fun and friendly.


The island of Alonissos is located in the Alonissos and Northern Sporades National Park, one of the largest marine protected areas in Europe. Still, Kostis paid for his stay in the area with his life. “The innocent and unwitting seal was executed at close range with a harpoon gun,” MOm spokesman Dimitris Tsiakalos told British broadcaster BBC. “It is likely that this happened from a boat.”

At this time it is not clear why Kostis was killed, but the port authority has launched an investigation. The search for the perpetrator(s) is still ongoing. Since the island is part of a national park, causing damage to the fauna and flora can be punished with fines.

The islanders are shocked by the news of Kostis’ death. They massively share the cartoon that MOm posted on social media after the seal’s death: ‘Don’t go to the shallows, that’s where the people are’.

There are about 700 monk seals left in the wild, almost half of them in Greece.

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