RUSSIAN SEALS - 23rd May 2000

Kazakh epidemic kills over 3,000 Caspian seals so far

An unidentified epidemic has killed more than 3,000 seals on Kazakhstan's Caspian Sea coast, the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS reported on Tuesday, quoting the republic's Emergencies Agency.

"The continuing toll of marine animals is giving rise to alarm among specialists, since it threatens the whole population," the news agency said.

The epidemic's cause has still not been established, despite efforts by biologists from Kazakhstan, Russia and Great Britain.

The Emergencies Agency said the seals' remains had been collected and destroyed.

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