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More than 2,000 endangered Caspian seals found dead on Russian coast

In this image taken from footage provided by the RU-RTR Russian television on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, Journalists and Interdistrict Environmental Prosecutor’s Office employees walk near the bodies of dead seals on shore of the Caspian Sea, Dagestan. About 700 endangered seals were found dead on the coast of the Caspian Sea in Dagestan. According to the local authorities, the reason for the death has not been established yet, and the number of dead animals may increase. Specialists of the Russian Federal Fisheries Agency and the Environmental Prosecutor’s Office are inspecting the coastline and collecting data for laboratory research. (RU-RTR Russian Television via AP)

Around 2,500 seals were found dead off the coast of the Caspian Sea in southern Russia, according to environmental officials.

Russia’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment said in a Sunday post on Telegram that environmentalists continue to find more dead seals along the coast at various locations.

The death toll grew from around 700 to 2,500 in the course of about 24 hours.

Scientists have not yet determined the cause of death, but the Ministry of Natural Resources said it recognized “natural factors” in some of the autopsies and it did not find metals or pesticides.

Zaur Gapizov, the head of the Caspian Environmental Protection Center, told The Associated Press the seals likely died a couple weeks ago and there was no sign they were killed or caught in fishing nets.

There are about 70,000 seals in the Caspian Sea, according to the center.

Tags Caspian Sea Natural Resources Ministry Russia seals
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