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Seal Is Beaten Unconscious By Tourists So ‘Children Could Take Pictures With It’

For every heartwarming story you hear about people rescuing animals from terrible situations and nursing them back to health, it sometimes seems like there are dozens more about people taking advantage of vulnerable animals and mistreating them. The latest sad story is one of a beaten seal on the shores of the Caspian Sea, who was left unconscious and thrown back into the ocean.

A Beaten Seal for a Photo Op

Images have circulated online of a group of men attacking a seal with sticks and boulders as it swam close to shore at a beach in the village of Kuryk, on the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea.

The brutal attack continued for several minutes until the animal was unconscious, and was supposedly done so that it would cooperate with some children who wanted photos with it.

“They beat the seal up until it passed out,” said an unnamed witness“Then they pulled it out of the water so that children could take pictures and have fun” [1].

The witness said that once they were finished with the animal, they threw its motionless body back into the sea. No one knows if the animal survived.

Public Outcry

This incident happened just days after another baby seal was pelted with stones and rocks by tourists in the city of Aktau, just 43 miles from Kuryk.

Both attacks have been shared through various news outlets, inciting rage from the public and disapproval from authorities in Kazakhstan. 

Saken Dildakhmet, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources described the way the people in the video acted as “outrageous and wild”, and is asking the public to respect nature.

“Such an attitude can cause a great damage to the fauna of the Caspian Sea and adversely affect the behaviour of these animals who may become aggressive and attack people” [1].

According to local environment authorities, seals are naturally curious animals that will often approach humans, and they should be admired not harmed. Unfortunately, there have been some reports of seals biting swimmers in the area who have had to go to the hospital to receive a rabies shot, which may be the impetus behind the recent seal attacks [1].