Around 2,500 dead seals have been discovered off Russia’s Caspian coast, officials from the North Caucasus region have reported. CNN. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has designated Caspian seals, the only mammals found in the Caspian Sea, as endangered since 2008.
The deaths were attributed to “natural factors”, according to Dagestan’s Ministry of Natural Resources, which also expressed concern that there could be many more dead seals. By their outward appearance, the seals died about two weeks ago and the ministry said there were “no signs of violent death, no remains of fishing nets”.
The Caspian Sea, the largest body of inland water in the world, is bounded by five countries: Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkmenistan. The number of dead seals discovered off the coast on Saturday initially appeared to be 700, but later rose to 2,500, according to Russia’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
The outlet further mentions that inspectors searched the beach for more seals, crediting the RIA Novosti news agency. While samples of dead seals were being examined by experts from the Caspian Environmental Center, the cause of death was still being determined.
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According to the IUCN, overhunting, habitat degradation and climate change have all harmed the Caspian seal population. The Dagestan Ministry said after this incident that there were still stable numbers of Caspian seals in the region, ranging from 270,000 to 300,000.
According to RIA, seals are at the top of the food chain and have no natural enemies as adults. They can reach a length of over 1.6 meters (5.2 feet) and a weight of up to 100 kilograms (200 pounds).
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