Around 2,500 dead seals have washed ashore on the Caspian Sea in the Russian republic of Dagestan in the North Caucasus. The Russian authorities informed on Sunday that up to 2,500 animal carcasses had been found in various places in and near the capital Makhachkala. On Saturday there was initially talk of up to 700 dead seals, and the authorities published videos and photos. The cause of the death of the protected animals was initially unclear. The investigations were ongoing, the number of cadavers could continue to rise, it said.
The Caspian seal is an endangered species and is under special protection. According to animal rights activists, their population has declined by around 90 percent over the past 100 years - also because of the increasing pollution of the Caspian Sea, where oil is extracted, for example. According to experts, the animals are dying from oil leaks, poaching and overfishing.