By Burc Eruygur
ISTANBUL (AA) – Around 2,500 dead seals have washed ashore in Russia’s Dagestan Republic, according to local authorities.
“Along the entire coast of the Caspian Sea on the territory of the Republic, specialists from environmental structures continue to count the number of dead seals. Unfortunately, the figure has grown significantly and currently stands at 2,500 individuals,” Dagestan’s Natural Resources Ministry said in a statement on Telegram on Sunday.
The bodies were found at various locations, most notably in the Yuzbash area and the mouths of the Sulak and Shurinka rivers connecting to the Caspian Sea.
“The reasons will be established after laboratory studies of the pathological material of dead animals,” the statement further said.
Separately, the Russian Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights also said the body will study the mass death of the seals.
“The Commission on Environmental Rights will take control of the situation and will monitor the progress of the investigation into the causes of the mass death of the Caspian seals. We hope for a clearer result, and not for vague comments about ‘natural factors’,” it said on Telegram.
About 700 dead seals were initially found on the coast of the Kirovsky district of Dagestan’s capital Makhachkala on Saturday, according to local reports.
Caspian seals have been included in the red list of endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature since 2008 due to the animal’s unsustainable hunting for fur and blubber.