The CSRRC was set up in order to protect the Caspian Seal, an animal that has been brought to the brink of extinction by illegal and legal hunting and the deterioration of their habitat in the Caspian Sea.
On the 6th August 2019, the Saby Charitable Foundation together with the Central Asian Institute for Ecological Research opened the Caspian Seal Research and Rehabilitation Centre (CSRRC) in Aktau, Kazakhstan, to restore the Caspian Seal population in the Kazakhstani sector of the Caspian Sea. Kazakhstan makes up 33% of the Caspian Sea’s coastline.
The CSRRC will use the latest and most modern technology to rehabilitate sick and injured seals, research the changing environment of the Caspian Sea, in particular how pollution and climate change are impacting seal populations and monitor seals for disease. The centre is the first of its kind in Kazakhstan, equipped with the latest rehabilitative technologies and staffed by highly qualified specialists.
The Center will monitor the environment of the Caspian Sea, in particular pollution levels and the thickness of the ice sheets covering the Caspian. Thick ice is essential for Caspian Seal reproduction as it helps to stop bleeding – if the ice is too thin, seals may die whilst giving birth.
The Center will also monitor the health of seal populations and track the impact of disease. This includes taking samples from live and dead seal specimens on a regular basis to build up a databank and history of microbiological, toxicological and genetic data for researchers all over the globe to access and use.
The Caspian Sea is nestled between 5 countries – Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Azerbaijan. The Center will work with the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, as well as all governments around the Caspian, to implement legislation aimed at protecting the Caspian Seal. This includes, but is not limited to, the establishment of safe zones, which would be protected by law, and the introduction of a moratorium on seal hunting. The Center will also provide seminars to educate the local population on the plight of the Caspian Seal and the ways to help, especially on what to do if an injured seal is found by a member of the public.