About 2,500 Caspian seals were found dead on the Russian coast on Saturday and Sunday. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Dec. 4 (UPI) -- The Russian government reports about 2,500 seals were found dead on the coast of the Caspian Sea on Sunday.
The Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian republic of Dagestan said more than 700 bodies were found spread across the coast on Saturday and even more were found Sunday.
The bodies are being examined but there is no indication that the seals died "violent" deaths, according to BBC. Early examinations do not support death by heavy metal or pesticide poisoning either.
The seals were primarily found between the mouths of the Sulak and Shurinka rivers.
Zaur Gapizov, head of the Caspian Environmental Protection Center said the seals likely died two weeks ago.
From Nov. 7 to 10, more than 100 dead seals were found on Kazakhstan's coast of the Caspian Sea. The cause of death of those seals has not yet been released.
Hunting and pollution have impacted the population of seals in the Caspian Sea greatly in recent decades. They have been listed as an endangered species since 2008, declared by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The CEPC estimates the Caspian seal population to be about 70,000. Decades ago, seals would pup nearly four times that number. The population was as high as 1.2 to 1.5 million nearly a century ago, based on data from the Seal Conservation Society.
Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan signed a plan to protect the Caspian seal population in 2007 but the plan has not been implemented.