Who “stole” my sunbed?

By | Category: Travel news
Argiro sunning herself

enjoying creature comforts…

Argiro is a monk seal, one of just 450 left in the world. That means that we should take special care of them. But providing a sunbed is too much!

She lives in the waters off the Greek island of Samos although you could be forgiven for thinking that the land rather than the water is the preferred location. Monk seals normally choose quiet caves and peaceful coves as resting sites, this seal named ‘Argiro’ which was spotted by local fishermen in March of this year, prefers the company of humans and has chosen a spot on some of the most bustling beaches on the island.

Samos is the base for the Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation which launched a campaign, 15 years ago, to protect rare wildlife species found in Greece’s seas and off its islands. The institute team attempted to deter attention and minimise human disturbance for Argiro but this proved impossible as she returned to the beach time and time again.

And where Argiro goes, the tourists follow so visitor numbers to the island have risen. The institute hopes that she will return to her natural habitat of her own accord, but in the meantime, they are on hand to advise visitors to the beach on how to behave around Argiro as a means of protecting her.

Argiro without a sunbed

…but at heart – a beach lover!

But would you go? If you had your own sunbed without fear that anyone would lay their towel down first thing in the morning would you leave? She has space around and is left to snooze as long as she wants. Nobody runs across her eye line chasing a beach ball. When she ambles to the sea for a quick dip, she can take whichever path she fancies without having to navigate past people and the sand mats. She has it made!

If Argiro has any sense she will stay until the tourist season is over and milk the attention for all she can because the day will come when she will have to settle just for sand and hard rock rather than a comfy sunbed. And at that point the tourist board will hope that she returns next year so that tourist numbers will swell even more.

Images © archipelago.gr-T. Tsimpidis

For more information about Samos, click here.

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