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Monk Seal: A Way Back

Documentary, guided by the actress Adriana Ugarte, who brings the story to life, the previous unknown story of the Mediterranean monk seal

Más que Pájaros

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15
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204
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10.790€
From 20.000€
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About the project /Community

With this new documentary project, we want to tell you an incredible conservation story presented by actress Adriana Ugarte: the story of the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus).

With this new documentary during COVID, we want to use a scientific format, but guided by a professional actress who manages to capture the attention of the largest number of viewers. Thus, the weight of environmental disclosure will be greater and will not lose a bit of scientific accuracy.

Mediterranean monk seal male in north Marocco (1991). Currently this population is extinct (Photo: Xisco Avellá)
Mediterranean monk seal male in north Marocco (1991). Currently this population is extinct (Photo: Xisco Avellá)

A story real and never before seen account of the monk seal. It was common on the Spanish Mediterranean coast, but three decades ago it became extinct. Hunting, overfishing and urbanization of the coastline were the main causes of the disappearance of the Iberian seals.

Today, although we do not have seals, Spain is very involved in the conservation of two of the last surviving colonies: Madeira, in the Portuguese Atlantic, and Cabo Blanco, on the coast of Mauritania.

Peluso, the last of the sapnish monk seals, 1991 (Photo: Xisco Avellá)
Peluso, the last of the sapnish monk seals, 1991 (Photo: Xisco Avellá)

Each of these two colonies are special, the seals in Madeira are called "sea lions", and were on the brink of extinction, but thanks to the conservation projects, there’s a positive future for this small, isolated colony in the middle of the Atlantic. On the other hand, the Mauritanian colony of Cabo Blanco, the largest in the world, went unnoticed by Europeans until recently. Its particular geographical location makes it very vulnerable, due to the unstable geopolitical situation of the area, disease, falls and storms.

Both colonies hide brutal conservation stories that deserve to be told, and Adriana Ugarte will help us, presenting the documentary, with scientific accuracy, realism and with us in the field. She will interview scientists who study seals, technicians who fight for their recovery and protection, and local fishermen who share the sea and fish with these seals.

The documentary will take place in Madeira (objective 1) and if we succeed (objective 2) also in Mauritania. Our goal is to give visibility to the conservation of a forgotten species and to all the people who fight and want its recovery on the Spanish coasts.

Here you come in

Your help for this is essential, since only with the support of people interested in the dissemination of nature conservation, we can film with the necessary equipment in these remote and difficult-to-access colonies.

Like the previous three, it is a collaborative project, in which many people and entities have donated material, time and work to talk about conservation with this new format: environmental disclosure with scientific accuracy in the hands of communication professionals.

Every effort goes further if you work as a team, so collaboration will continue to be our brand.

Only with your help we will get to tell this fascinating true story of conservation with Adriana Ugarte. We want to convey to society the importance of conserving our coasts and seas in particular, and of nature in general.

In the last year, in the midst of the pandemic, we have had the opportunity to interview and have a first contact with an important part of the professionals who work in the conservation of the monk seal. But due to the COVID circumstances they have limited mainly to online interviews.

Our goal is to complete the project by traveling to the colonies to film in situ, people, habitat and seals. A technical and geographical challenge that we can only achieve with your help.

The ultimate goal of the documentary, if we get crowdfunding, is to improve social perception of a possible future scenario: the return of the monk seal to Spanish waters.

Monk seal killed in Mallorca, 1929.
Monk seal killed in Mallorca, 1929.

About the rewards

There will be surprises for all patrons. In addition, the t-shirts and sculptures will be finished professionally designed, ensuring a modern design with a "vintage" touch.

All the rewards will be sent with the fall of the leaf, in autumn you will have your reward without exceptions and wherever you are (all of Europe). In addition, 25% of all contributions will go to the NGO INNOCEANA that works for the conservation of the seas around the world.

About us
"Más que Pájaros" we are a Biology and Ecotourism company based in the León´s mountains (Lugueros, León). We believe that conservation awareness is key to avoiding having to go to museums to see wonders like the monk seal in the future.
"INNOCEANA" we are an NGO for the conservation of the seas. We work through international cooperation in Spain, Costa Rica, Thailand and the United States.

The team

The promoters of "Foca Monje: A Path of Return" are:
• Adriana Ugarte: actress and student of Philosophy. She believes in environmental dissemination as an engine for the conservation of the Planet, and is happy to collaborate with small projects financed through crowdfunding.
• Manuel A. González: Doctor in Biology, specialized in the conservation of threatened fauna and director of Más que Pájaros. He has directed three other documentaries on threatened fauna: “The Secret of the Forest: Memories of the Cantabrian Grouse”, “Brown Bear: Following the Footprints of the Wild” and “Valle de Lobos”, all of them financed through crowdfunding and available on YouTube.
• Benito Fuertes: A wildlife biologist, he has been behind him for more than 30 years behind all kinds of fauna around the world and has been involved in several projects for the conservation of endangered species. This time he has changed the boots for fins to go out to sea.
• Francisco R. Sabugo: graduate in audiovisual communication and director of the AV DEVELOPS production company (https://www.avdevelops.com). In this small production company, we have a weakness for videos, aware of everything that a good video can convey.
• Carlos Mallo: engineer, professional diver and founder of INNOCEANA. He does not conceive of life with his feet on the ground, and that is why he spends his time diving underwater. When someone doubts about where to go on vacation, Carlos always answers: -Diving is the cheapest trip to another planet, I can take you, I'll leave it there… -
• Alejandro Álvarez: technical engineer, guitarist, professional cameraman and filmmaker. Heterodox like few others, Álex has been a key piece in previous documentaries and without his filmmaking skills, it would be impossible to tackle this madness ...
• Beatriz Blanco-Fontao: PhD in Biology and environmental scientist, she has specialized in scripting wildlife documentaries in Danger of extinction. Her texts and scripts will adorn SEAL MONJE: A WAY OF RETURN.
• Carlos R. Villafañe: PhD in biology and producer of nature documentaries. He has filmed hundreds of hours of wild, aquatic and terrestrial fauna, and has obtained real and spectacular images of free fauna in their natural environment (http://www.bichoproducciones.es/bicho/).

What will we allocate your contributions to?

With this crowdfunding campaign (objective 1) we will film in the Desertas Islands (Madeira, Portugal), as an example of good work in the conservation of the monk seal. We will interview local fishermen, technicians and biologists who have managed to ensure that this colony not only does not disappear, but that it gradually recovers.

If the project likes and we achieve objective 2, we will do the same in Cabo Blanco (Mauritania) where the habitat, local culture and landscape differ radically from Madeira. There, in a territory mined by a war, survives, against all that was thought, the only great colony of monk seals in the Mediterranean. The work of the Spanish CBD-Habitat Foundation is crucial there.

Your contribution will be used to cover the following expenses:
• On-site filming phases.
• Making, editing and post-production of the documentary.
• Expenses for this campaign: teaser, gifts for patrons, taxes, bank commissions and crowdfunding expenses.
• Contribution to the INNOCEANA NGO of 25% of the money obtained. So that it continues with its actions to conserve the sea around the world through science, technology and environmental dissemination.

Your contribution will revert to the conservation of the monk seal, improving the social perception of the species.

Planned schedule

The patronage campaign will end at the beginning of May 2021. Immediately, at the end of the same month, we will go to work in Madeira for 5 days. If we also achieve objective 2, at the beginning of June we would travel to Mauritania to obtain as much material as possible in another five days (interviews, habitat and seals). Editing and realization will begin in July, with the purpose of finishing full production and editing during the summer.

The delivery of rewards will begin to take place in October 2021, so in autumn you will have your gift when the leaf falls.

At the end of 2021, in order to disseminate the documentary as much as possible, we will place it on national and foreign televisions to awaken interest in conservation in most of society, from nature lovers, even those people who until now were not interested in her. Our pull to achieve it will be the famous and young actress Adriana Ugarte. In this way, all the patrons will be collaborating through scientific dissemination guided by communication professionals, with the conservation of the monk seal in particular and the seas in general, which is, after all, the conservation of our Planet, that of ourselves ...

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10 comments

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  • miguelangelgrau

    miguelangelgrau

    19 hours

    Yo creo que hay gente esperando la opción DVD, animaros a sacarla para llegar a los 20000!!! Ánimo

  • Conchi66

    Conchi66

    12 days

    Me encantaría que este maravilloso animal volviera a nuestras costas.

  • Lostgarou

    Lostgarou

    23 days

    Mucha suerte

  • Mercedes

    Mercedes

    23 days

    Enhorabuena por la iniciativa. Mucha suerte

  • Mercedes

    Mercedes

    23 days

    Enhorabuena por la iniciativa. Mucha suerte

  • Alejandro

    Alejandro

    23 days

    Mucho ánimo con el documental! El tema me parece muy interesante. Ojalá ayude a dar a conocer esta especie al público y a conservar la especie :)

  • Javier Calzada

    Javier Calzada

    23 days

    Suerte con el proyecto. Es muy interesante y muy emotivo!

  • paco peña

    paco peña

    23 days

    ANIMO!!!!! y que todo salga bien

  • Fuerte abrazo manada!!!! Mucha suerte

  • camel

    camel

    24 days

    Mucho ánimo con este nuevo proyecto!!!

#05 / Con el nuevo libro sobre el urogallo cantábrico

Amig@s mecenas, gracias a la colaboración de la Universidad de León en FOCA MONJE: UN CAMINO DE REGRESO, podemos incluir entre nuestras recompensas una interesante novedad para los amantes de las aves: el libro EL ÚLTIMO UROGALLO que se encuantra en fase de impresión, editado por la Universidad de León y que verá la luz en mayo de 2021

EL ÚLTIMO UROGALLO (editado por la Universidad de León)
EL ÚLTIMO UROGALLO (editado por la Universidad de León)

.

Gracias a la Universidad y a vosotros, en la nueva recompensa de 40€ estará incluida una copia de un libro irrepetible: EL ÚLTIMO UROGALLO.

#04 / ¿Foca monje del Mediterráneo viviendo en el Atlántico?

Así es, antiguamente estas focas vivían en todo el Mediterráneo, desde Turquía hasta España. Además, las poblaciones se adentraban en el Mar Negro (hoy está en duda que exista allí alguna foca monje) y había poblaciones atlánticas: Canarias, Madeira y costa atlántica norteafricana. Hoy la población del Mediterráneo oriental está muy diezmada, sobreviviendo pequeñas colonias en Grecia (isla de Gyros) y Turquía principalmente. En el Mediterráneo norteafricano la población parece estar al borde de la extinción total, habiendo desaparecido ya del Mediterráneo marroquí. En el enlace podéis disfrutar de imágenes inéditas de una expedición en 1991 del FONDO PARA LA FOCA DEL MEDITERRÁNEO al norte de Marruecos, cuando aún fue localizado un macho. Hoy la realidad es más triste.

Y en el Átlántico han sobrevivido dos colonias:… read more

#03 / La última gran colonia

En el norte de la costa de Mauritania, en dos cuevas de cría, ha sobrevivido milagrosamente la última gran colonia de foca monje del Mediterráneo. Allí, en una costa golpeada por el océano y un suelo sembrado de minas antipersonas, la Fundación española CBD-Hábitat lleva 20 años protegiendo y estudiando a esta colonia. Gracias a su trabajo, las focas no han desaparecido a pesar de las incontables vicisitudes por las que han pasado: guerras, intoxicaciones, sobrepesca, caza... Ayúdanos a contar esta gran historia.

regocijo tras dar muerte a un gran macho de foca monje
regocijo tras dar muerte a un gran macho de foca monje

#02 / ¿Cómo será la escultura de foca monje de las recompensas?

La cabeza de foca monje de las recompensas superiores a 90€, será una pieza artística obra de Álex Sáenz de Miera. Artista multidisciplinar con experiencia en diseño, producción, pintura y mural, pero sobre todo, lo que le define es: inquieto por naturaleza.

La pieza final será en resina con baño electrolítico en bronce de unas medidas aproximadas de 130x65mm. Aquí os dejamos un adelanto de Álex:

esbozo preliminar de la escultura de la cabeza que recibirán los mecenas
esbozo preliminar de la escultura de la cabeza que recibirán los mecenas

perfil de la misma
perfil de la misma

#01 / La última de Chafarinas

Muchos recordaréis a "Peluso", la última foca monje que nadó en aguas españolas. Con aquel gran macho que quedó atrapado por un aro de pesca, y que el ejército junto con un equipo de biólogos, logró liberar, comenzó la sociedad española a conocer que tenían focas en sus aguas. Fue demasiado tarde, después de Peluso, la foca monje se considera extinguida de nuestras costas desde los años 90. Pero la historia no ha terminado ahí, y eso queremos contaros...

Peluso descansa indiferente ante el biólogo Xisco Avellá. Se observa la cicatriz que le dejó el aro de pesca (Chafarinas, 1991).
Peluso descansa indiferente ante el biólogo Xisco Avellá. Se observa la cicatriz que le dejó el aro de pesca (Chafarinas, 1991).

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