About 2,500 dead seals have been found on the shores of Russia’s Caspian Sea, authorities said Sunday.
The cause of the shocking mass death is unknown, but officials in Russia’s Dagestan region have speculated that it may be due to natural causes.
According to the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, initial regional reports on Saturday indicated that 700 dead seals were found near the coast, later increasing the number to 2,500.
The head of the Caspian Environmental Protection Center, Zaur Gapizov, said in a statement that the seals may die for several weeks. There were no signs that they had been killed or entangled in fishing nets, he said.
Specialists and prosecutors of the Federal Fisheries Agency studied the coastline and collected data for laboratory studies, which did not immediately identify pollutants.
Mass deaths of seals from natural causes are not unheard of.
Kazakhstan, with its long Caspian coast, has seen at least three similar incidents this year.
The number of seals in the Caspian Sea is estimated to be between 70,000 and 300,000, according to the Caspian Environmental Protection Center.
With post wires