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It’s official: Caribbean monk seal is extinct

June 10, 2008
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Only seal species to vanish due to human impacts; two other species at risk

The Caribbean monk seal, also known as the West Indian seal,will be rememberedonly by drawings. On Friday, the U.S. declared it extinct.

After five years of futile efforts to find or confirm sightings of any Caribbean monk seals — even just one — the U.S. government on Friday announced that the species is officially extinct and the only seal to vanish due to human causes.

“Humans left the Caribbean monk seal population unsustainable after overhunting them,” Kyle Baker, a biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, this led to their demise and labels the species as the only seal to go extinct from human causes.”

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