Christopher Columbus

Caribbean Monk Seal – Extinct 1952

The Caribbean Monk Seal was also known as the West Indian Monk Seal or Sea Wolf. The first Europeans to see them in August 1494 were Christopher Columbus and his crew when their ship laid anchor off the island of Alta Velo. Their population size, prior to exploitation by Europeans and overfishing, as at the early 17th Century has been estimated at something over a quarter of a million distributed over 13 breeding colonies each 300km apart.