On February 20, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation held the first field meeting of the expert working group in framework of the federal project “Biodiversity conservation and development of ecological tourism” and the national project “Ecology”. Representatives of federal and regional authorities, science, the environmental community and business gathered at Astrakhan State Technical University.
Vasily Bogoslovskiy, General Director of Clean Seas Foundation, and his deputy Olga Kharkova spoke about the foundation’s ongoing projects and proposed that the Caspian seal would be recognized as a flagship species. The seal is endemic to the Caspian, inhabiting only there and nowhere else. Unfortunately, the population is rapidly declining due to infections, habitat pollution, poaching, food depletion, as well as global warming leading to short winters and a reduction in ice fields on which Caspian seals breed.
Alexander Khodayev, Deputy General Director of LUKOIL-Nizhnevolzhskneft, announced at the meeting that LUKOIL took the Caspian seal under patronage, and it would be their second flagship species (the company also take care of the saiga).
Thus, the Caspian seal will become the 14th species, in the conservation of which Russian business is involved.