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Caspian seals in danger of slipping away

April 13 2015, 16:12

Image 0Caspian seal, the only marine mammal in the Caspian Sea is in danger, said PhD in Biology Tariel Eybatov, the director of the Natural History Museum named after Hasanbay Zardabi of Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences.

The number of seals is declining across the Caspian Sea, according to Eybatov.

"For the last 25 years the seals population in the Caspian Sea has decreased four fold," he told Trend

The unique endemic species is listed in the Red Book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources in 2000 as a species under threat.

The biologist noted that existing agreements between the Caspian littoral states on the protection of seal populations do not solve the problem.

The five Caspian states signed the Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea in 2003. Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Russia signed an agreement on the delimitation of adjacent sections of the Caspian Sea in 2003.

The Caspian seal is one of the smallest members of the earless seal family. They can be found not only along the shorelines, but also on the many rocky islands and floating blocks of ice in the Caspian Sea,AzerNews reported.

Over-exploitation of the Caspian seal population fisheries, the impact of invasive species, disease, pollution and other factors have led to a substantial reduction in the seal's population size.

The scientist also said that the Russian sector of the Caspian Sea mostly suffers from the problem. “In Makhachkala there are special plants and factories, where seals are slaughtered for commercial purposes," he stressed.

However, Abhseron Peninsula may be considered a real cemetery for seals, as wind brings 90 percent of dead seals to its northern extremity, according to Eybatov. “Currently, there are no seals in the Absheron Peninsula's water area," the scientist noted.

Seals face many challenges in the Caspian Sea. Very often seals fall into fish traps. Moreover, fish, which they feed on, have also decreased in numbers. He said that in 2000 an epidemic caused by a virus was reported among Caspian seals, what lead to their decrease.

The negative factors of pollution are another cause of mass mortality of these unique creatures.

The oil and gas production are also among the reasons why these beautiful creatures are fast disappearing.

Source: bnews.kz

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