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October 24, 2023

Beginning of the birth season

October is the month in which we celebrate World Animal Day, and it is also the month in which we begin monitoring the births of sea lions in our population.

Our team is on the ground monitoring the evolution of these births and waiting for the sighting of the first calf of the year.

Image: IFCN


October 24, 2023

Beginning of the birth season

October is the month in which we celebrate World Animal Day, and it is also the month in which we begin monitoring the births of sea lions in our population.

Our team is on the ground monitoring the evolution of these births and waiting for the sighting of the first calf of the year.

Image: IFCN

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May 17, 2023

Awareness-raising action with diving, recreational and sport fishing centres

This week, the VECLAM project held two awareness-raising actions aimed at diving centres, recreational fishing associations and big-game fishing companies.

The actions took place in Funchal and Machico.

Also this week, the project went to Santa Cruz Secondary School, where it presented the project to two 11th grade classes.

Image: IFCN

May 05, 2023

Awareness-raising action with Aquaculture

Under the awareness programme of the VECLAM project, two awareness-raising actions were held with aquaculture companies in the municipalities of Calheta and Ribeira Brava.

These actions were attended by employees of the companies Marismar and Aquabaía/Ilha peixe, which have sea bream production cages off Calheta and Ribeira Brava / Caniçal respectively.


The actions will continue with the support of the Monk Seal Alliance.

Image: IFCN


May 03, 2023

Youngsters take initiative for the conservation of the Mediterranean monk seal

On the 3rd May, a group of students (Ana Beatriz Franco, Ana Carolina Freitas and Guilherme Jardim) of the Environmental Management technical course, type 6, of the Jaime Moniz Secondary School, organized a day of activities related to the Mediterranean Monk Seal and the conservation work of this species.

The IFCN, IP-RAM was invited to be a speaker in the activity, where it presented to the students the VECLAM project - "Surveillance of the Sea Lion Conservation Status in the Archipelago of Madeira", and was present in the orientation test "peddy-paper", during which the students' knowledge about the sea lion was tested. This group of students, guided by their teachers, also plans to visit the Desertas Islands.

Image: Marta Araújo (IFCN)


April 25, 2023

VECLAM Project assesses the Selvagens Islands as a habitat for the Mediterranean Monk Seal

The VECLAM project team participated in the expedition Selvagens 50 with the aim of prospecting and assessing habitats of interest for the conservation of the Mediterranean monk seal, namely beaches and caves

This action is included in one of the objectives of the VECLAM project and is part of the actions defined in the "ACTION PLAN FOR THE RECOVERY OF THE MARINE WOLF IN THE EASTERN ATLANTIC".

Note that habitats of interest for the conservation of this species are geographic areas well defined by abiotic and biotic factors, where some phase of the biological cycle of the species is currently taking place or that have been historically occupied by the Mediterranean Monk Seal and that have the conditions to be recolonized in the future.

We recall that the Selvagens Islands enjoy a regime of total protection.

Image: Marta Araújo (IFCN)


April 22, 2023

Camera maintenance work

The surveillance cameras that we place in caves and beaches need protection against the conditions found in the places where they are placed. The pressure, falling rocks, saltpeter and wear and tear caused by the force of the sea mean that it is necessary to maintain and repair this equipment every year.


While the VECLAM project team prepares to head to the Selvagens Islands to work, on the Desertas Islands the park rangers carry out maintenance on the watertight boxes that protect the surveillance cameras, an essential task so that the data being collected is not lost/unviable.

Image: Marta Araújo (IFCN)


April 21, 2023

Meet "Turista"

In the workshops held by the VECLAM project in march, aimed at maritime-tourist companies of marine vertebrate observation, participants were given the opportunity to "baptize" one of the individuals of the population.

The name chosen by the participants in the awareness actions was "TOURIST". 

"Tourist" is the name given to the new adult male of the population, a male that reached sexual maturity this year, and that will play an important role in increasing the reproductive success of the entire colony.

Image: Marta Araújo (IFCN)


April 19, 2023

VECLAM Project on Selvagens Expedition

Today, in the Main Hall of the Regional Government took place the presentation of the Expedition to the Selvagens Islands which will take place next week, more specifically from April 23rd to May 1st.

The 50th Selvagens Expedition is organized by the IFCN and is part of the celebrations of the 50 years of that Reserve, also following the enlargement and the total protection of its marine area.

This Expedition is based on "looking at the past, assessing the present and preparing the future".

Image: IFCN

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March 20, 2023

IFCN launches portal for monk seals sigthnings

The portal created and provided by the VECLAM project, from the Institute of Forests and Nature Conservation (IFCN, IP-RAM) was launched today.

This platform will allow the Madeiran community to know better the Mediterranean monk seal, follow the conservation work undertaked by the project, and register any sighting of monk seals occurring in the archipelago of Madeira. 


The registration of monk seals sightings is the main novelty of this portal, allowing Madeiran citizens to participate in the conservation of this specie.

Image: IFCN

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March 15, 2023

VECLAM project engages youth in conservation

Today, the VECLAM project went to Jaime Moniz Secondary School, in the municipality of Funchal, to hold two lectures on the work being done with monk seals.

The events took place in the school auditorium, and were attended by 80 students.

On this day, the project also had the opportunity to be present in a monitoring session of a group of students of the Environmental Management technical course, whose final exam of the course addresses the Mediterranean Monk Seal.

Image: Jorge Freitas (Jaime Moniz Secondary School)

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March 14, 2023

WORKSHOP: Monk seal and Wildlife SOS Network

The awareness program oriented to the community directly related with the sea has started.

The program will develop between March and June of this year, and will have 19 actions in total, distributed by Madeira Island and Porto Santo.

The first actions will start still this month, directed to maritime-touristic companies of marine vertebrate observation.

This program is supported by Monk Seal Alliance, funder of the VECLAM project.

Image: Marta Araújo (IFCN)

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March 3, 2023

VECLAM project in schools

Children are one of the most curious and interactive audiences.

With an enormous capacity to absorb information, these are the generations of future adults, who will protect the Mediterranean monk seal in the near future.

Being aware of the importance of raising awareness among the youngest, the VECLAM project, joins the Training and Communication Division of the IFCN, to take knowledge to schools in the Madeira Archipelago.


If you wish to request an activity about the Mediterranean Monk Seal, please contact us:



Other groups/subjects:

Image: School EB1 Caniço


February 21, 2023

Awareness program

This February, and within the VECLAM project - "Mediterranean monk seal conservation status surveillance in Madeira archipelago", funded by the Monk Seal Alliance, the IFCN initiated the program of awareness-raising for the conservation of the Mediterranean Monk Seal. 

This program aims to publicize this emblematic species, as well as the work done in the VECLAM project. 

The geographic scope of these actions includes the entire Madeira Island and Porto Santo, and a set of activities is already scheduled for schools and communities that work more directly in the sea.

The program started with the schools (click on "Learn more").

Image: IFCN

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February 17, 2023

News from Deserta's

Within the VECLAM project - "Mediterranean monk seal conservation status surveillance in Madeira archipelago", funded by the Monk Seal Alliance, the IFCN was monitoring the first months of life of the pups born in November 2022, and is pleased to note that 4 of the 5 pups survived the first 2 months of life.


This February we began the maintenance work of some surveillance cameras installed on the Desertas, and also the analysis of the images captured during the months of births. With the continuation of the analysis, we will thus obtain more information about this period of the year.

Image: Marta Araújo and Filipe Viveiros (IFCN)


November 20, 2022

Rescue of a male pup

This Sunday, a male calf was observed alone, in a healthy state and vocalizing. As time progressed, no female was observed near by, and the risk of the calf suffering from hypothermia increased. Faced with this situation, the nature watchers team and the project's marine biologist had to proceed with a rescue action. This action was carried out successfully.

The monitoring of births is an integrated action in the VECLAM project - "Mediterranean monk seal conservation status surveillance in Madeira archipelago", the most recent project of the IFCN, IP-RAM, funded by the Monk Seal Alliance.

Image: IFCN


November 18, 2022

Births season: new offspring

The monk seal birth season has already started, and since the beginning of this month, 5 pups were sighted, two females and three males.

The first pup was detected in the beginning of November. This pup was male and was found dead, most probably as a result of bad sea conditions that were felt at the end of October / beginning of November.

The team had the joy of observing two new calves, this time females, that presented a healthy state.

In the second half of the month two more pups were sighted, this time two males.

Image: IFCN

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August 17, 2022

Encounters with monk seals are increasing in number

Monk seal sightings have increased on the island of Madeira, habitat that was once its "home".

The records have been coming from all over the island, and we would like to thank all Madeiran citizens for their contribution sending us images and/or information.

Although we are very happy to know monk seals have been trying to return to Madeira island, we would like to ask the whole community to avoid direct and close contact with these animals.

Please, never touch or seek for interation with the animal.

Image: IFCN


June 9,  2022

Removal of abandoned and/or illegal fishing gear

Within the scope of the VECLAM project - "Mediterranean monk seal conservation status surveillance in Madeira archipelago", financed by the Monk Seal Alliance, and to commemorate World Oceans Day (June 8), the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests (IFCN, IP-RAM), carried out an action of removing fishing gear potentially dangerous to the monk seal, such as creels, which were illegal and/or abandoned at sea. This action involved the participation of various maritime authorities – the Regional Fisheries Direction, the Regional Sea Affairs Direction, the Portuguese Navy, the GNR, the Humanitarian Association of Volunteer Firefighters of Madeira and diving clubs.

Image: IFCN


June 08, 2022

Trivalor for Biodiversity

The VECLAM working group was invited by Trivalor company, to participate in their annual event - "Trivalor for Biodiversity"- on 20 and 21 May.

The group made an online presentation on 20th, and a live presentation on 21st, the last one during Madeira - Porto Santo boat trip, on board the ship "Lobo-marinho". 


The event culminated in a beach clean session at Porto Santo beach, together with the Nature Watchers. 

Image: Marta Araújo


May 17, 2022

International Meeting for Mediterranean Monk Seal Conservation 

Madeira hosted the 7th Meeting of the Working Group of the Action Plan for the Conservation of Mediterranean Monk Seals in the Eastern Atlantic, which took place in Funchal, on may 17th-19th. This meeting was attended by government representatives and conservationists of the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) from Portugal, Spain, Morocco and Mauritania. The meeting was also attended by conservationists of the Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi).

Image: IFCN


March 23, 2022

VECLAM project contributes with marine litter for art project

The marine litter collected by the IFCN in Desertas Islands Nature Reserve, as part of the VECLAM project - "Mediterranean monk seal conservation status surveillance in Madeira archipelago", funded by the Monk Seal Alliance, was used to contribute to the aCORDA Portugal project, an artistic project that aims to raise awareness of the rubbish found on the beaches of Portugal, by collecting strings, forming in the end a ball of string to be exhibited in various parts of the country.

Image: IFCN


February 28, 2022

“São Lourenço” appears injured

The "São Lourenço", one of our adult males, was sighted in the area of Ponta de São Lourenço, with several wounds on the body, which may have been caused by human hands.

This is a situation that we are monitoring.

Previously, we had already reported the appearance of other injured adult males - "Metade", "Esbranquiçado", "Pontinhos" and "Trinca-botes".

Image: André Moreira


August 9, 2021

Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation helps to preserve monk seals

The VECLAM project is funded by Monk Seal Alliance, a consortium of five foundations: Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the MAVA Foundation, the Segré Foundation, the Sancta Devota Foundation and the Thalassa Foundation.

Image: JMadeira

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