One of the smallest seals, it is found exclusively along the shore and in the very salty Caspian sea. Evidence suggests that like similar populations, seals initially migrated along rivers, which have now ceased to exist, cutting them off from the rest of the world.
At various times, illnesses like canine distemper has swept through the population, killing thousands, but thankfully never wiping out the whole population.
100 years ago, the seal population was around 1.5 million. Through various problems from humans, such as reducing fish stocks, and various illnesses this population has dropped to its current level of around 70,000.
Increasing industrial activity has lead to an increase in chemicals that damage the seals in the water. It is thought that this is having an impact of reducing the seals capacity of fighting off diseases.
Sea eagles do predate young, and are known to kill quite a few.
A die-off of around 2500 happened in December 2022. At this time, it is not clear what caused this.