NICOSIA, Cyprus — Cyprus authorities are appealing to the public for help in searching for an extremely rare baby monk seal that appears to have been separated from its mother likely because of a spell of bad weather.

Cyprus Fisheries Department official Melina Marcou told The Associated Press Thursday there have been several sightings of the tiny mammal in the last few days off the east Mediterranean island-nation’s southeastern coast.

Only 7 to 10 monk seals are still left on Cyprus, with around 600 in all of the Mediterranean.

Marcou said the seal’s survival chances are slim to none if it’s not found within the next 72 hours because it still needs to nurse from its mother.

Marcou said there’s been only one live monk seal birth in Cyprus since 2011.

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