Caspian Seal

By S.W.

DESCRIPTION

  • marine mammal
  • born with long coat of white fur or silvery coat of grey fur called lanugo
  • pups (baby seals) are born to be between 64 and 79 centimeters (cm) and weigh about 5 kilograms (kg)
  • the lanugo is shed 3-4 weeks later and reveals a dark grey coat of short fur
  • males are darker and have dark spots all over their body
  • females are lighter and only have light spots on their back
  • adults weigh between 110 and 190 pounds
  • make aggressive snorts or wave their flippers to alert other seals to stay away
  • all Caspian seals live in the landlocked Caspian Sea
  • only mammal living in the Caspian Sea
  • they are important because they are one of the few species that actually stay in one area

FOOD CHAIN & HABITAT


  • feed on a variety of small fish, mostly kilka
  • feed on crustaceans like crab
  • finds its food in the Caspian Sea
  • carnivore
  • it is a predator that hunts fish and crustaceans
  • lives in the Caspian Sea and is surrounded by the countries of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan
  • Caspian Sea is the largest lake in the world
  • Caspian Sea has a temperate climate
  • lives on the shore and sometimes ice; ridges away from wind


ADAPTATIONS


  • blubber keeps it warm during winter
  • lanugo keeps the pups warm
  • dental formula of I 3/2, R 1/1, and PC 6/5 (ADW Phys. Descr.)
  • swims quickly to avoid predators
  • No known adaptation toward its predators (sea eagles, humans, and wolves)


REASONS FOR ENDANGERMENT & CRITICAL INFORMATION

  • sea eagles hunt the baby seals after they are born
  • humans kill seals for their blubber and lanuga
  • wolves sometimes kill the seals
  • about 60,000 seals are killed annually (ADW Eco. Import. for Humans)
  • Darwin team has created a plan called SCAMP (Caspian Seal Conservation Action and Management Plan) (Casp. Seal Proj. Conservation.)
  • now recording all seal activity in the Caspian Sea (Casp. Seal Proj. Conservation.)
  • was accepted by Government representatives in late 2006 (Casp. Seal Proj. Conservation.)