The authorities in the Russian province of Dagestan said that it’s still unclear what caused the animals’ deaths, but they likely died of natural reasons.
Regional officials initially said Saturday that 700 dead seals were found on the coast, but on Sunday Zaur Gapizov, head of the Caspian Environmental Protection Center, said according to the state RIA Novosti news agency that after a broader inspection of the coast the number of dead animals was 1,700.
Numerous samples were collected during autopsies and subjected to detailed bacteriological analysis and viral studies, particularly those of Covid-19, the Sputnik news agency praised Sunday.
Materials were sent to labs in Moscow and Astrakhan, and major hypothesis cause of death is natural factors.
Judging by the seals´ internal organs condition, the news agency said, the animals did not suffer from heavy metal or pesticide poisoning.
The disappearance of hundreds of seals is not critical for the population as a whole, because it is estimated that from 270,000 to 300,000 animals are found in that habitat.