A dozen fur seals die en route to dolphinarium

Fur seals die en route to dolphinarium RIA Novosti / Igor Wineshtein
Experts are looking into the possible causes of the deaths of 12 fur seals who were transported by air to a dolphinarium in Russia’s Far East.

The deaths occurred during a one-hour flight from Sakhalin Island on Monday. There were 20 seals on board the plane, and only eight survived the journey.

A preliminary investigation has revealed the death of the seals was not related to any kind of infection. Moreover, these sea mammals are known for their ability to survive extreme low temperatures, as well as lack of oxygen and food.

The death of the animals could only be due to poor transportation conditions, veterinary experts believe.  

The unfortunate seals were transported in a cargo plane in stressful conditions in small cages and at high temperatures which were inappropriate for these cold-loving animals, local transport police reported on Tuesday. The fur seals, weighing more than 300 kilograms, may simply crush each other if kept in crowded conditions. 

Responsibility for the death of mammals, as well as a possible penalty for negligence, are to be determined after further investigation.