Caspian Seal Conservation Network: Azerbaijan

Tariel Eybatov, BSc, PhD

Tariel is a mammalian morphologist, currently on the faculty of the Azerbaijan Institute of Geology and also Director of the Azerbaijan Museum of Natural History. Tariel has been studying the mortality rates and morphology of Caspian seals in Azerbaijan since the early 1970s. He has worked with the international team since 1996 and has co-authored all the manuscripts on the seal mortality investigations. Tariel hosted the Darwin project initial meeting and first workshop in Baku in September 2006.

Tariel Eybatov and his team are monitoring the beaches of the Apsheron Peninsula - where dead seals are often washed ashore - as well as sites where seals traditionally haul-out on offshore islands. Many years ago there were thousands of seals on these sites, but their numbers were severaly reduced, mainly by by hunting. During the Ecotox project (2000-02) there were still a few hundred seals to be found on these sites. Sadly the numbers are now reduced almost to zero. Tariel and his team are continuing to monitor the Peninsula and islands for both live and dead seals, and to investigate the reasons for the seals' recent disappearance.