The Caspian Sea waves are again throwing dead seals onto the Dagestan coast. Reports from federal and regional media, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Republic of Dagestan, and specialists of educational and scientific institutions in Makhachkala indicate an extensive coastal strip of strandings – from the capital of the republic to the border with Azerbaijan. The total number of dead animals is unknown, the causes have not been identified. Moreover, the seals died at different times. The occurrence of dead animals washed up on the coast (the number of individuals per 1 km of coastline) between Makhachkala and Kaspiisk was 1.8 times higher than at the border with Azerbaijan.
Here is a summary of the reports available by the end of December:
– On December 10, 2023, Murad Magomedov, a correspondent for Izvestia Information Portal, found 10 seals on a 1.5 km section of the coast between Makhachkala and Kaspiisk (the occurrence of dead Caspian seals was 7 ind./km). Murad noted in his video report, “Judging by the degree of decomposition, the seals died a long time ago, they were probably in sea water for some time. We had a strong storm a couple of days ago, and the Caspian threw carcasses onto the shore.”
– According to Yu.A. Yarovenko, a senior researcher at the Caspian Institute of Biological Resources of the Dagestan Scientific Center of RAS, 20 dead Caspian seals were found on a five-kilometer coastline between the village of Primorskiy and Karasu-2 (the occurrence of dead Caspian seals was 4 ind./km). The animals were at different stages of decomposition, as evidenced by photographs provided to Kaspika Caspian Seals Conservation Agency.
– On December 19, state-run news agency RIA Novosti reported about another 130 seals registered by the commission of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Republic of Dagestan. The Dagestan Ministry, unfortunately, did not specify the location and extent of coastline where these dead animals were found. “There are few fresh carcasses, most seals are decomposed. It is not a fact that they have died in Dagestan; they could have been brought by a current or storm from Azerbaijan or Iran,” said RIA Novosti’s interlocutor.
– On December 26, Press Service of the Ministry of Natural Resources of Dagestan informed about several animals taken for disposal from the city beach of Kaspiysk.
In recent years, seals have been dying in their thousands.
In December 2023, the Dagestan Ministry of Natural Resources published disappointing information that requires urgent actions to protect this red-listed species: in 2022, more than 10 of the approximately 35 thousand dead animals in the Caspian Sea were stranded on the Dagestan coast; in 2020 – 6 thousand.
In the top photo: Dead Caspian seals on the coast between Makhachkala and Kaspiysk, Dagestan, the Caspian Sea, December 10, 2023. Photo by Izvestia Information Portal.