In Dagestan, carcasses of dead seals were found on the coast of the Caspian Sea, as reported by the media. Specialists are counting the number of dead animals and figuring out the reasons for their mass deaths. Scienteists believe that it was caused by natural factors.
Earlier, on December 3, as reported by Argumenty i Fakty, representatives of the North Caucasus Territorial Office of the Federal Fishery Agency stated that around 700 dead seals were found on the coast of the Caspian Sea in Dagestan. Employees of the coastal patrol of the Caspian Environmental Center together with inspectors of Rosrybolovstvo investigate the coast. According to yesterday's media reports the number of dead seals reached 2,500.
Recall that this region is home to the Caspian seal (seal), which is listed in the Red Book. According to various data, its number varies from 70,000 to 300,000 seals, although it is not known exactly how many seals live here, because there is no chipping and counting of animals in Dagestan.
The Caspian seal is the only species of marine mammals that live in the Caspian Sea. Scientists believe that they play a unique role in the marine ecological system. The animal can be up to 160 cm long and weigh up to 1 cwt. Seals feed mainly on fish and adults have no natural enemies. However, these animals require human protection and attention.
As RIA Novosti reports, there are rehabilitation centers where injured and weakened animals are treated and then released into the wild in Iran and Kazakhstan, also in Vladivostok, Kaliningrad and St. Petersburg. There is also such a center on Lake Baikal. According to the CEO of the Caspian Environmental Center Zaur Gipizov, such a center should also be organized in Dagestan to have funds to organize expeditions to the places where seal rookeries are located, to monitor, study and help the weakened animals. According to the employees of this center, about 70,000 individuals of the Caspian seal live near the coast of Dagestan.
To date, specialists of the Caspian Environmental Center have collected the necessary material to identify the real cause of the death of animals. Neither signs of violent death nor fishing nets were found at the site of the pinnipeds' mass death.
The laboratory examination of the bodies of dead seals has not confirmed the intoxication of seals by heavy metals or pesticides, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Republic of Dagestan. Natural factors are the main reason.
Meanwhile, the Federal Agency for Fishery, according to the media, said that in 2020 and earlier cases of mass death of animals were already recorded, but in smaller numbers. According to scientists, the most likely cause of death of seals is the emission of natural gas from the bottom of the Caspian Sea, which causes hypoxia, depresses the central nervous system and leads to paralysis of the animal.
According to RIA Novosti, State Duma deputy Sultan Khamzaev has taken control and will study the situation that led to the mass death of the Caspian seal. At the same time, Khamzaev said that he would send deputy inquiries to the General Prosecutor's Office, the Ministry of Natural Resources and other agencies.