In conjunction with the Saby Foundation, a charitable fund founded by Asel Tasmagambetova and Kenes Rakishev and the Central Asian Institute for Environmental Research, the Caspian Seal Research and Rehabilitation Center has opened in Aktau, Kazakhstan.
The Caspian seal population has dwindled by nearly 90% since the beginning of the 20th century. This rapid decline in population continues, primarily due to human impact on the delicate Caspian Sea marine eco-system and from climate change. The Caspian seal is now on the IUCN’s (International Union for Conservation of Nature) endangered species list.
The primary focus of the Caspian Seal Research and Rehabilitation Center is a three-pronged approach aimed at extensive research, seal rehabilitation and education initiatives as follows:
- Research Initiatives
The center will proactively monitor the ecosystem of the Caspian Sea to provide real-time information of the marine environment. The center’s laboratories are equipped to monitor and record blood and tissues samples of Caspian seals to aid in the studies related to seal genetics and the impact of microbiological and toxicological factors on the Caspian seal population.
- Caspian Seal Rehabilitation
The center will provide treatment and rehabilitation to injured Caspian seals with the objective of release of rehabilitated seals back into the Caspian Sea. This effort will entail the collaboration of veterinarians, environmentalists and zoologists.
- Educational Initiatives
The future of the Caspian seal rests upon an understanding of the impact of human activity on the environment. The center’s educational initiatives are aimed at teaching the next generation about the environment and the plight of endangered species like the Caspian seal.