More than 130 endangered seals were discovered dead on Kazakh Caspian Sea beaches on Wednesday, according to officials.
‘Dead seal carcasses have been discovered,’ a spokesman for Kazakhstan’s ecology ministry told AFP. According to the ministry, 130 seals were discovered dead on Caspian Sea beaches in the country’s west.
Autopsies will be performed and soil and water samples from the area will be analysed, says Kazakh environmental experts.
The Caspian seal, the only such species found in the Caspian Sea, the world’s largest inland body of water, was added to the list of endangered species threatened with extinction by the Kazakh government in November 2020. The Caspian Sea is bounded by five countries: Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkmenistan.
For decades, the Caspian Sea seal population has suffered from overfishing and the effects of industrial pollution.
Experts estimate that there are now approximately 68,000 Caspian seals, down from over one million in the early twentieth century.