Dead Caspian Seals in Dagestan

In the first half of May 2022, more than 150 dead Caspian seals were found on the Dagestan coast of the Caspian Sea. The death of red listed animals was registered in 7 sections of the Republic of Dagestan’s coastline: at the Terek River mouth; near the village of Sulak; at Anchor Recreation Center (to the north of the village of Dilchu); next to Algrado Tourist Center (the village of Novolakskoye); at Dolphin-2 Recreation Center (the village of Gamiyakh); in the Kirovskiy District of Makhachkala; in the Derbent Region.

The North Caucasian Territorial Administration of the Federal Agency for Fishery (NCTA of the Federal Agency for Fishery) reported that 48 dead seals were found on the Derbent Region coast, and another 48 individuals – in the Kirovsky Region of Makhachkala and in the area between the Yuzbash Canal and the Terek River mouth. Mostly they were young seals. There were no remnants of nets on the animals and they were not injured by fishing gear. Based on this fact, the agency concluded that fishermen were not involved in the incident. The death of these seals was attributed to unfavorable hydrometeorological conditions in the winter and spring of 2022.

On May 13, NCTA of the Federal Agency for Fishery informed about dead seals on the Caspian coast, to the north of Makhachkala. A group of specialists from the West Caspian Department of VNIRO Volga-Caspian Branch (CaspNIRKh) and NCTA of the Federal Agency for Fishery examined the coastline in the area of Algrado Tourist Center (the village of Novolakskoye). 3 seal carcasses were found to the north of this site, on the coast near the village of Sulak. The dead Caspian seals were of different ages and at different stages of post-mortem changes with partial loss of fur. As the press service of VNIRO Branch clarified, the animals had no external injuries. Specialists measured and photographed the dead seals.

According to data provided to Kaspika Caspian Seals Conservation Agency by an employee of the Caspian Institute of Biological Resources of the Dagestan Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 12 dead seals were found on a 2.5 km stretch of coast, near Anchor Recreation Center (to the north of the village of Dilchu) on the 7th of May.

Kaspika Agency also received information from the leadership of Ecolife Dagestan Veterinary Center for the Protection of Animals. A local resident informed Ecolife on 30 Caspian seal corpses, which she had found on a beach near Dolphin-2 Recreation Center (the village of Gamiyakh). On May 9, employees of Dagestan Veterinary Center for the Protection of Animals went to the place. Located on the coastal area with a length of 600 meters, dead animals were large adults and juveniles as in the photo above. The seals were of different state of decomposition, including initial stages of post-mortem changes.

It should be noted that the actual number of dead seals this spring can be in the hundreds, since monitoring of the entire Dagestan coast was not carried out. The coast of Kalmykia and the Caspian zone of the Astrakhan Region were not explored either. How many dead seals were left in the water area? – Only the Caspian Sea knows.

The sea gives us signals of ecological disaster more and more often. Here is the chronology of dead seal strandings in Dagestan over the past 10 years:
May 2022;
May 2021 (to learn more);
December 2020 (to learn more);
April 2017 (to learn more);
February 2016 (to learn more);
November 2016 (to learn more);
October 2012 (to learn more).

In the photo: A Caspian seal pup (a sivar) near the Dolphin-2 Recreation Center, May 9, 2022. The photo by V. Shevtsova, Head of Ecolife Dagestan Veterinary Center for the Protection of Animals, and D. Dzhakhparaeva, Deputy Head of this organization.

 

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