Source: Radio Zamaneh
Iranian environmentalists warn that the seal population in the Caspian Sea has dropped from one million to 100,000.
Caspian seals (Pusa caspica), one of the smallest members of the earless seal family, are unique in that they are found exclusively in the brackish Caspian Sea. They can be found not only along the shorelines, but also on the many rocky islands and floating blocks of ice that dot the Caspian Sea.
Abdolreza Karbasi, the deputy head of Environmental Protection of Iran, told the Fars News Agency yesterday that the unregulated seal hunt is to blame for the steep decline. He added, however, that Iranian seal hunters follow strict regulations, while neighbouring countries have been over-hunting seals for their skins.
The Caspian Sea, the world's largest lake, borders Iran to the south, Russia to the north, the Republic of Azerbaijan to the west and Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to the east.
Karbasi maintained that ever since the number of countries bordering the Caspian Sea increased from two to five, the lake's resources have been depleted at a higher rate.
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of 371,000 km2 and a volume of 78,200 km3. It is in an endorheic basin (it has no outflows) and is bounded to the north by Russia, to the south by Iran, western Azerbaijan, and eastern Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.
Analysts have said the decline in wildlife populations can be traced to lake pollution mainly caused by oil exploration and extraction activities.
Karbasi said Iran is not involved in oil exploration in the Caspian Sea and, therefore, is polluting the lake far less than other countries.
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