Mass Death of Seals on Lake Baikal Was Due to Infection

The anthropogenic cause of the mass death of seals at the end of October on Lake Baikal is completely ruled out, the West-Baikal environmental prosecutor Aleksey Kalinin told Interfax.

“In the study of dead animals, no elements showing negative anthropogenic impact were detected. All inspections of the Baikal pulp and paper mill, treatment facilities (for leaks – IF) gave a negative result. All water samples (in the Baikal-IF water area) showed no pollution. There is no poisoning, there is an infectious disease, “Kalinin said.

According to Kalinin, it is possible to finally answer the question of which infection caused the seals death, after the molecular-genetic analysis at the Limnological Institute of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (LIN SB RAS).

A source familiar with the situation told the agency that it could be a gastrointestinal infection.

Director of LIN Andrey Fedotov told the agency that for carrying out the molecular genetic analysis, the live seal will be delivered to the institute. “So far, no infections have been found, but that does not mean anything. We researchers are a dead organism in which viruses are poorly preserved. We need a living organism to get 100% convincing results, “Fedotov said.

In the Angara-Baikal Territorial Administration of Rosrybolovstvo, the agency was told that it was planned to catch two or three seals in Irkutsk on a quota for scientific research.

Fedotov also said that during the expedition in late October, LIN employees discovered 18 carcasses of seals per 1 km of coastline near the village of Mishikha (Kabansky district of Buryatia).

Earlier it was reported that from October 26 to November 2, 141 carcasses of the dead seal were found on the Baikal coast, including 38 in the Slyudyansky District of the Irkutsk Region in the south of the lake, 99 in the Kabansky District of Buryatia in the central part of the lake, four in the Barguzinsky District Buryatia in the north of Lake Baikal. All are adult and well-fed animals, 80% of them are pregnant females.

It was also reported that the first seals were found on a sand spit near the village of Noviy Enkhaluk (Buryatia) and along the Circum-Baikal railway between the villages of Port Baikal and Kultuk (Irkutsk region).Mass death of seals

According to the environmental prosecutor’s office, the animals were not thrown ashore – they died in the water and then their carcasses carried out waves. They did not die at one time – at different times, for two days. All the dead seals in the gastrointestinal tract lacked food.

According to preliminary data of the Rosselkhoznadzor, the death of the seal was due to cardiac arrest caused by unknown causes. Dangerous diseases, such as carnivorous plague and rabies, have not been detected in dead animals.

Source: Maritime News of Russia