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Animal World: Our Co-inhabitants

Caspian Seals: Jewels of the Caspian Sea

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Today the Caspian Sea remains the largest inland body of water in the world, connecting Europe to Asia. We Caspian seals like the estuaries because the mouths of the rivers provide the chilled waters that we enjoy. When late fall arrives, we head up north for the birth of our newborn pups on the ice sheets. The lanugo coat that the young seal pups have must not become wet, as it does not repel water or dry easily, and so young pups do not enter the water, and as the ice is not suitable to dig a lair, or den, the pups must stay close to their protective mothers. Our travel to the south is also significant as the Caspian Sea is 1,200 kilometers from north to south.

In the summer and winter, we like to congregate in large groups. But the rest of the time, we relax and get some alone time, or in the company of our spouses, as we Caspian seals pair for life.

Do you know we seals can hold our breath longer than most other animals? We also have a super sense that helps us in the water. It’s our whiskers! They are super sensitive and give us a lot of information about our environment from even the slightest vibration in the water.

As you can see, we are truly unique, found nowhere else in the world. In 2017, there were only 100,000 of us left, a loss of about 90% of our kind compared to the 20th century’s beginning. We are also currently on the list of endangered species, which worries me greatly. Luckily, scientists from Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan along with specialists from the UK, Sweden, and Estonia have joined to create the “Caspian Seal project,” which works mainly with the governments of the nations surrounding the Caspian Sea and interested groups to share research findings and develop conservation policies. The Darwin Project is encouraging the humane treatment of seals. Another example is that the organization has worked with Iranian fishing associations who have agreed if we are accidentally caught in their netting, rather than killing us, the Darwin Project team members will come and return us to the sea as soon as possible.
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