Caspian seal, an endangered species in the world’s largest landlocked sea, is facing the threat of extinction due to excessive hunting.
Amir Sayyadi Shirazi, a veterinary expert, said in addition to global warming which is an environmental factor endangering the Caspian seal, “overhunting poses a grave threat to these animals. The safe places where seals give birth have been destroyed in Russia and Turkmenistan. Seal meat is used in fox-breeding farms in Russia and some Turkmen people believe that the fat under the seal’s skin is good for treating arthritis, which of course has no scientific basis.”
Shirazi criticized the Caspian littoral states for exploiting the Caspian environment and said, “We have formed a rescue group an objective of which is to enhance relations among countries in order to save the Caspian seal.”
“In 2008, a British organization estimated the number of seals in the Caspian Sea at 100,000,” he said, “but considering the drop in their ranks over the years, their number is predicted to be between 70 and 80 thousand now.”
“In Kazakhstan and Russia seal hunting licenses are issued, but we must prohibit hunting to preserve this endangered species,” said Vahid Kheirabadi, the head of the Wildlife Administration at the Department of Environment in Golestan Province.
“The Caspian Sea is shared among five countries and one country cannot deal with all the pollution issues on its own,” Kheirabadi asserted, “All five countries must cooperate to resolve these environmental issues.”