More than 130 endangered Caspian seals were found dead on Caspian Sea beaches in Kazakhstan, officials said Wednesday. “Carcasses of dead seals have been found,” a spokesperson for Kazakhstan’s ecology ministry told news agency AFP.
Autopsies will be carried out, and environmental experts said water and soil samples from the area would be analysed.
The Caspian Sea, the only area where the Caspian seal is found, is surrounded by five countries: Kazakhstan, Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Iran.
For decades, the seal population of the Caspian Sea has been affected by overhunting, industrial pollution and climate change. On November 2020, the Kazakh government placed the Caspian seal on the list of endangered species threatened with extinction.
According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), there are only 68,000 Caspian seals left in the world, down from more than one million in the 1900s.