2500 Caspian seals die in mysterious circumstances off the Russian coast

The causes of the mass death of these specimens are not known, which remains a mystery to experts, veterinarians and scientists

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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2500 Caspian seals die in mysterious circumstances off the Russian coast

2,500 Caspian seals have been found dead off the Russian coast of the Caspian Sea. These seals are listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. The total population is 68,000 specimens. The population of these seals is believed to have once been 1.5 million, before dropping to around 400,000.

However, the most recent estimates by the main conservation bodies do not exceed 70,000 individuals. The causes of the mass death of these specimens are not known, which remains a mystery to experts, veterinarians and scientists.

The carcasses have no signs of violent death and it does not even appear that they could have become trapped in fishermen's nets. Sometimes these species die from drowning precisely because they end up in fishing tackle. 2500 Caspian seals die in mysterious circumstances off the Russian coast The Caspian seals are endemic to the brackish waters of this sea and each event of mass death risks further eroding the stability of the populations, threatened by multiple anthropic factors.

Facebook page Mr Captain wrote on Facebook: "About 2,500 seals have been found dead on the Caspian Sea coast in southern Russia, officials said Sunday. Authorities in the Russian province of Dagestan said it was unclear why the mass die-off happened but that it was likely due to natural causes.

Caspian Environmental Protection Center said in a statement that the seals likely died a couple of weeks ago and no sign showed that they were killed or caught in fishing nets. Experts inspected the coastline and collected data for laboratory research, which didn't immediately spot any pollutants." Several recent mass deaths, three of which occurred this year in Kazakhstan, had occurred due to natural causes, but at the moment we cannot be sure.

Many of these small marine mammals have been killed by canine distemper virus in the past. Experts explained: "The bodies were found in different places, mainly in the Yuzbash area, as well as between the mouths of the rivers Sulak and Shurinka."