?What has been done to combat Caspian seal extinction
Establishment of Caspian seal rehabilitation and research center (Caspian seal conservation center) in Iran
In 2008, following evidence showing 90% decline in the population of Caspian seal in the Caspian Sea during last century, Caspian seal was recognized as Endangered Species in the Red List of the World Conservation Union. The Dutch institute “Zeehondencreche” with half a century experience in protecting seals, began the Caspian seal protection project. Ms. Lenie’t Hart, founder and head of the Dutch center and the late Dr. Mohammad Mostafa Shahi Ferdous, head of the veterinary department and Dr. Amir Sayad Shirazi, head of Iran Caspian Seal Project, established the same center in Iran. Iran was selected from 5 countries along the Caspian Sea to establish the center, due to Iran having coastal protected areas, as well as having the most supportive governmental and people-based organizations in comparison to other 4 countries (Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Azerbaijan).
Following this, an agreement was signed between the marine deputy of the Iranian Environmental Protection agency and the Seal Rehabilitation and Research Center in the Netherlands in order to allow Iran to start protection project and be the future model for expanding activities in the region. The late Dr. Shahi Ferdous and Dr. Amir Sayad Shirazi, after conducting the necessary training courses, with the support of Ms. Hart, established the Caspian seal rehab and research center in the Sturgeon protection center of Ashura-deh Island, Golestan Province. The reason for choosing Ashura-deh was that seals were likely to be seen near the Turkmen border. The current building despite its small area, is equipped with special pools and has become a good place to look after sick or wounded seals during these years.