Something strange has been happening in the Caspian Sea in southern Russia in recent weeks. shocking death of seals, hundreds or even thousands of which perished. According to experts, the most likely cause may be a lack of oxygen.
About 2,500 or more seals have died in this region in recent weeks, a senior Russian environmental official told the AP agency on Monday. Zaur Gapizov, director of the Caspian Center for Environmental Protection, said the seals probably died a few weeks ago and there is no indication that the animals were hunted or killed after they got caught in fishing nets or similar situations.
Russia’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment took samples from the animals to determine the cause of death, but they suspect the deaths were due to “natural causes.” Svetlana Radionova of the Federal Natural Resources Supervision Service said: the most likely explanation is hypoxia (lack of oxygen)He added that scientists are investigating whether this could be causing low oxygen levels. Natural gas emissions in the Caspian Sea.
The Federal Fisheries Administration, which collects samples from the shore for investigation, said they have yet to detect any contaminants in their samples.
The Caspian Sea has large commercially exploited natural gas reserves. more and more intensely.
Radionova added to the AP that a similar mass death of about 2,000 seals was recorded in this region and neighboring Azerbaijan in 2000.
Seal numbers in the Caspian Sea have dropped dramatically over the past century. Their population increased from about one million to 70,000 during the 20th century, largely due to industrial pollution and hunting.
These animals are adapted to environments where oxygen is scarce, such as burrows, high altitude habitats or the depths of the ocean. Research on Weddell seals has found that their very large spleens are an advantage in these low-oxygen environments.
“This contraction of the spleen is like an oxygen tank,” according to a study of mammals’ adaptations to hypoxia, “it can inject oxygenated red blood cells into the bloodstream during prolonged diving.”
However, they remain vulnerable to events at very low oxygen levels, as is sometimes the case in the marine environment as a result of some natural or artificial process.
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