2,500 dead seals found on Russia's Caspian coast
In this image taken from footage provided by the RU-RTR Russian television on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, Journalists and Interdistrict Environmental Prosecutor's Office employees walk near the bodies of dead seals on shore of the Caspian Sea, Dagestan. According to the local authorities, the reason for the death has not been established yet, and the number of dead animals may increase. (AP)

MOSCOW, Russia (AP) — About 2,500 seals have been found dead on the Caspian Sea coast in southern Russia, officials said Sunday.

Authorities in the Russian province of Dagestan said it was unclear why the mass die-off happened but that it was likely due to natural causes.

Regional officials initially reported Saturday that 700 dead seals were found on the coast, but the Dagestan division of the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment later raised the figure to about 2,500.

Zaur Gapizov, head of the Caspian Environmental Protection Center, said in a statement that the seals likely died a couple of weeks ago. He added that there was no sign that they were killed or caught in fishing nets.

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