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'Baikal…I have never seen water that clear in my life'
Ian Frazier, 2013

Slaughter of unique seals living in Lake Baikal

By The Siberian Times reporter
30 October 2015

More than a dozen animals killed by self-appointed executioner and dumped by a river near lakeside town.

Evidently, someone decided to regulate the number of seals in this way.' Picture: Vesti.Irkutsk

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES!

A shocked local man came across the dead seals, some of them shot, a find which coincides with an angry debate on whether it is right to cull the earless mammals which are endemic to the world's oldest and deepest lake. The disturbing scenes have led to a petition to President Vladimir Putin and other government officials calling for the seals to be protected. 'They were killed, brought here and dumped. How could they kill such an animal?' asked Matvey, who sent a video of the slaughtered seals to news outlet  Vesti.Irkutsk.

'Evidently, someone decided to regulate the number of seals in this way.' He demanded: 'The offender must be punished for this. This is - murder. Real murder.'

There are currently strict laws banning the hunting of Baikal seals, but fishermen claiming the rising population is detrimental to fish stocks in a lake larger in size than Belgium. A scientist and senator in the Russian parliament has called for some 7,000 seals to be hunted each year in a cull to control the population, in part to boost the local fishing industry.

Baikal seals killed


Baikal seals killed


Baikal seals killed


Baikal seals killed


Baikal seals killed

'The offender must be punished for this. This is - murder. Real murder.' Pictures: Vesti.Irkutsk

Police went to the scene and found evidence of the unofficial cull, which took place a week previously. They opened an investigation. Animals rights investigators say the butchery in these pictures is not unique and that up to 15,000 seals are illegally killed annually. 

'The Baikal seal is the only mammal that lives in the waters of Lake Baikal. This cute animal inhabits almost the entire area of the lake and eats fish,' states the petition. 'The main seal rookery located on Ushkaniye Islands - there is plentiful food, comfortable stones to relax on, and most important - there are almost no people. The seals' natural enemies are poachers.'

Alexander Savin, an activist behind  the petition, said: 'All of us know that the seal is a symbol of the Lake Baikal, that it is a sacred animal, as is the lake itself. But someone does not think so and kills seals, justifying it by the fact that the mammals reduce the population of fish in Baikal. But you must admit that it is a normal, natural selection, and mostly the fish population decreases due to poaching and water pollution.

This case is not unique, it repeats over the years. That is why we wrote a petition to Vladimir Putin, (prime minister) Dmitry Medvedev and the Director of Greenpeace Kumi Naidoo. Friends, do not be indifferent - the future of Baikal seal, the symbol of the cleanest lakes in the world, is only in our hands.'

Map


Slyudyanka

More than a dozen animals killed by self-appointed executioner and dumped by a river near lakeside town Slyudyanka. Pictures: The Siberian Times, Sergei Kiselyov

Arnold Tulohonov, a senator for the Republic of Buryatia in the upper house of the Russian parliament and director  of the Baikal Institute of Natural Resources, said recently that seals must be hunted to prevent an epidemic, and to provide work for local people. There should be a return to legal hunting, he claimed. 'We've always been shooting 7,000, and everything was okay.'

He added: 'The population of seals has grown. Normally, we have about 100,000 of them but now, I think, it's more. And they have a habit of dying if they can't find food.' Previously the overpopulation of seals led to an outbreak of distemper, he said. 'It can repeat.'

Comments (5)

THIS IS ABSOLUTELY UNCONSCIONABLE!!! HUMANS HAVE BECOME SAVAGES! WHAT IS WRONG W/ SOCIETY TODAY? NO MORALS, NO HUMANITY! I'M ASHAMED TO BE A HUMAN! I LOVE ALL ANIMALS ABOVE HUMANS! WHAT HAPPENS WHEN ANIMALS BECOME EXTINCT? BLOOD THIRSTY HUMANS WILL HUNT HUMANS, CUT OFF HEADS SO THEY CAN HANG ON WALL TO SHOW OFF THEIR TROPHY? PEOPLE ARE BECOMING PSYCHOPATHS & THERE'S NO MEDICATION FOR THAT!!! HUMANS ARE DESTROYING THE PLANET! THIS DISGUSTS ME!
Kate Clifford , Honolulu, United States
06/11/2015 12:36
1
2
Such horrible cruelty isn't solely a problem in Siberia but also in the U.S., the U.K., and elsewhere. Seals and other animals need to eat fish, we don't and by doing so we deprive them of the food they need to survive. Fishing is harmful to so many animals, and most especially to fish. Science has shown that they suffer fear and pain, too. Please be part of the solution, not part of the problem: Don't eat fish.
Mary Finelli, Maryland
03/11/2015 04:09
0
1
Please punish this bad person, this is very savage and disturbing
Dr Lindi Engelbrecht, Gisborne New Zealand
31/10/2015 17:32
2
0
THIS ISTOTALLY BARBARIC AND DISSPICABLE!!!!!! WHAT YEAR ARE THESE EVIL EVIL MURDERS LIVING IN??????? THIS IS SO UNNESSARY AND JUST NOT RIGHT. CRUEL AND INHUMANE SUFFERING UPON THESE INNOCENT ANIAMLS FOR WHAT REASON??? TOTALLY SENSELESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
FRANCIS ALLAN, RED DEER,ALBERTA,CANADA
31/10/2015 16:36
2
2
I am glad these images are partly blanked out...it is distressing enough to think of it. I have been fascinated by Lake Baikal for many years and the seal has always been a special symbol of its uniqueness. For those that play God and undermine nature I truly hope your delusions of grandeur are worth it!!!
Carmen, Ireland
31/10/2015 06:06
2
1
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