The Caspian seal, the only marine mammal in the Caspian, an endemic species (i.e. inhabiting only there) and the smallest seal in the world, is in danger of extinction. Less than 100 thousand – this is all that has remained.
Nevertheless, it is still a commercial species, and every year approximately 3-6 thousand (it depends on the quota) are absolutely legally “obtained”, about 5 thousand die for various technogenic reasons, plus poaching and fishing gear – this is 1.5-2.5 thousand additionally. In total, 9-12 thousand individuals are annually taken from the population unique in the world.
This is despite the fact that its natural recovery is already hardly possible because of mass epidemics, and reducing the number of fish, and its habitat degradation, and the lack of conservation measures for saving this species (not talking about its recovery). The situation is catastrophic, if nothing changes, the Caspian seal will be extinct in the next few years.
We say at once: we are not against oil production, economic development, etc. – all of this is necessary and important; and, in general, we wish the Caspian region peace and prosperity. We are only about that the seal is a symbol of this region, and the top of the marine ecosystem, an integral indicator of its status. If we save the seals, we will save the Caspian Sea.
And a little bit is required in reality, at least, to stop legal hunting, which, moreover, has not had any economic values for a long time yet. The matter is in unemployment and extreme poverty. Both of them are the main problems of the Caspian region, which should be urgently solved, but extermination of the only marine mammal is unlikely to help this. On the contrary, restoration of the population could be one of solutions: exotic seal rookeries would attract tourists from all over the world; our lubber is very friendly and easy to get along with people.
The most reliable way to do away with legal hunting – the Red Book of the Russian Federation. Why there has been no our endemic species in it so far, which is about to be extinct on our own Earth – it is not easy to explain! Everything is mixed up: economy, politics, and maybe something else… However, it has not been matter yet. It is important to understand that the fate of the Caspian seal depends on two countries now: Russia and Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan has taken the first step – has banned legal hunting on seals, huge thanks to them. Now it is our turn to do it.
It is absolutely clear that this problem should not be solved by the efforts of only scientists. They have long been sounding the alarm – and nothing is being changed. Public resonance and public demand are required (we have managed to do something yet, click here. Let us start with this petition.
It is needed a lot of signatures, friends, a large number of them. And it is not important where and in what country you are living – we should do it together, otherwise, we will not able to break through this wall, which seems to be very strong. There is little time left, five, maximum ten years – and the end. And they will say, “The Caspian seal is extinct”. This is, you know, such a biological euphemism, very convenient. And actually, this is always killing, where all of us – or culprits, or accomplices, or indifferent witnesses…