The documentary film “Save the Caspian Seal”

Well, the three years of researches on the Caspian seal has flown by. Researches that were conducted in the Kazakhstani zone of the Caspian Sea under the state order of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan. For these years, in search of pinniped creatures, we have passed tens of kilometers in deserts and sands of the bare bottom of the Caspian, overcome thousands of kilometers by motor vehicles, boats, a hovercraft and helicopter, made lots of observations by drones. Thousands of photographs were taken, and hundred hours of video were filmed.

The Caspian was changeable, and not always friendly to us. But we did expect that there would not be only gentle shores, soft sunlight, and a quiet breeze. Although there were such splendid days, evenings with bewitching sunsets and nights with a huge moon. But more often, it was expectation of favorable weather. There were storms, salt windstorms with uncertainty ahead.

A lot has been written about the Caspian seal, but the situation with this species has changed drastically over the past decades. Thirty years ago it was possible to see Caspian seals on beaches in Aktau; seals often swam to Atyrau along the Ural River. Nowadays local people ask us with interest where, in what region of the sea and coast we have seen seals, recalling how often they met these cute and funny animals in the past. Now only in remote places of the Caspian coast you can find rare seal rookeries.

Caspian seals are dying, being on the edge of extinction.

In our documentaries, we intentionally did not tell you about the process of filming, our search works and studies. The main hero of our films was the Caspian seal. We would like seal voices to sound, and these animals to look at us from the screen with their curious, big black eyes. We wanted each viewer could spend some time with them alone to understand them better and their problems also, being “in their skin”. Yes, yes, “in their skin”. There is such an expression. When someone’s business is going badly, and in order to understand it, you have to imagine his unenviable position or get used to his bad destiny.

Maybe someone has another opinion about the fate of seals in the Caspian. Maybe, they think that it is necessary to continue commercial hunting on Caspian seals, and there might be nothing reprehensible in that we, people, are occupying places where seals breed, forage and rest. Maybe it is worth further pushing the problem of the extinction of these marine mammals in the long box for getting a short-term or long-term benefit?

Yes, Caspian seals are without rights.

But we, too, at birth, eat, like seals our mother’s milk, and so seals’ “skin” is close to us, and their “skin” is also our destiny already happening. Maybe, on the contrary, it is worth looking at the wide open damp eyes of the Caspian seal to see our future in them? Only in contrast to seals, we can change the chain of adverse events, or at least try to do it.

Caspian seals are surprisingly trusting, and people have abused this trust for a very long time. It is time to stop it.

Mirgaliy Baimukanov,
the Director of the Institute of Hydrobiology and Ecology, Head of  the group of researchers, Screenwriter, and Director of films about the Caspian seal.

(For subtitles in English, please, click CC button in the lower right corner of the frame).



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