The Caspian seal is one of the three smallest members of the earless seal family and unique in that it is found exclusively in the brackish Caspian Sea. Since the end of the 19th century, their population has declined by almost 10 times that urged the Caspian countries to adopt urgent measures to preserve the population of these mammals.
On July 24, in Dagestan State University, a meeting with representatives of the Center for the Nature of the Caucasus was held.
The meeting was aimed to study and sign agreements on preservation of the population of the Caspian seal, the only mammal found in the Caspian Sea. The Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan, the Iranian Center for the Rehabilitation of the Caspian Seals and Atyrau University of Oil and Gas are among the main partners of Dagestan State University.
In the wild, Caspian seals live to be on average about 50 years old. By-catch in fishing nets has now become the most serious factor in the decline of the population – around 20 percent per year. Intensive commercial fishing by man of the Caspian Sea has a serious effect on the food resources for the Caspian seal. Pollution and human impact in the coast and water area of the Caspian Sea are the main reasons of the extinction of species.
To address the issue, in 2017, an application for financial support was submitted to the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and it was approved in 2018.
A project that would allow to study more detailed the behavior of seals in the southern Caspian Sea and especially mammals in the Turkmen sector of the sea is being developed currently.
Thus, within the framework of the project on preservation of the Caspian seal, an expedition to Ogurchinskiy Island, the largest island in Turkmenistan and the longest in the Caspian Sea, located in the southeastern Caspian Sea, where Caspian seals stay in autumn and winter, is scheduled.