Thousands of dead seals wash up on the Russian coasttext_fields
Moscow: Close to 2,500 dead seals were found washed up off the Russian coast of the Caspian Sea. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has designated Caspian seals endangered since 2008.
Caspian seals are the only mammals present in the Caspian Sea which is bounded by five nations - Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iran, and Turkmenistan.
Overhunting, habitat degradation, and climate change have been affecting the sea seal population. The Dagestan ministry claimed even after the mass death, there is a stable number (270,000 to 300,00) of Caspian seals in the region.
According to the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the number of dead seals discovered on Saturday initially appeared to be 700. But, the number later rose to 2,500, reported CNN. The Dagestan's Ministry of Natural Resources has expressed concern that there may be more dead seals but attributed the deaths to "natural factors'' and asserted there were "no signs of violent death or fishing nets."
The bodies of the animals look like they died around two weeks ago. Experts from the Caspian Environmental Center are still examining the samples to determine the cause of death.