A seal was beaten unconscious by tourists in Kazakhstan so that they could snap photos of their children posing with it, according to witnesses.
The gut-wrenching scenes were captured on video at a beach near the coastal village of Kuryk, located on the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea, and went viral after they began circulating online Tuesday.
In the clip, a group of men can be seen surrounding the defenseless Caspian seal with sticks and large rocks after it came close to the shore.
In the meantime, a crowd of spectators gather nearby to gawk at the violent scene but fail to intervene or even voice their displeasure with the show of brutality.
Local media say report that the needless assault on the seal persisted until the gentle creature was knocked unconscious, according to the Daily Mail.
“They beat the seal up until it passed out. Then they pulled it out of the water so that children could take pictures and have fun,” an unnamed witness explained to local media. “After that, they threw the motionless body back into the sea. I don’t know if it survived.”
The grisly video has emerged mere days after a similar incident of wanton brutality toward the marine mammals shocked online audiences.
In a video shared to Instagram by Kazakh model Yevgeniya Mukasheva, beachgoers in the city of Aktau, which lies roughly 43 miles from Kuryk, can be seen throwing large rocks at a baby seal after it approached them.
In the video’s caption, Mukasheva wrote:
“Do people really have a complete lack of brains?”
“How could you throw stones at the defenseless pup and laugh? Have you lost your mind?”
Continuing, she said: “When will we already understand that it is necessary to value and care for every creature on the planet? What more pain do we need to strike so that we understand that mercy and compassion must be in our minds?”
View this post on Instagram
Я ХЕРЕЮ ПРОСТО!!! ⠀ Неужели у людей полное отсутствие мозгов??? ⠀ Если животное подошло к вам так близко, значит оно доверяет!!! Как можно смотреть, как толпа закидывает беззащитное животное камнями, которое ничего вам не сделало и ржать??? ⠀ Я не знаю как нужно воспитывать детей в семье, чтобы для них это было НОРМАЛЬНЫМ! ⠀ Когда же мы уже поймём, что нужно ценить и беречь каждое существо на планете? Какой ещё болячкой нас нужно ударить, чтобы понять, что милосердие и сострадание должны быть во главе?
Mukashev’s online followers also expressed their disgust over the clip, with one person commenting: “What a horror!!! He is a little [pup], too … He came with confidence.”
Others highlighted the irresponsibility of attacking the baby seal in front of their children, who would themselves grow accustomed to such sadistic acts of animal cruelty.
One users asked: “What kind of people will they raise? How can you ridicule a helpless and trustworthy little seal?”
The incident has gained the attention of authorities in the Central Asian republic.
“The way people acted in the video is outrageous and wild,” said Saken Dildakhmet, a spokesperson for Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources.
“Such an attitude can cause great damage to the fauna of the Caspian Sea and adversely affect the behavior of these animals who may become aggressive and attack people,” the official added. “We ask you to show respect to nature.”
Seals are generally curious, friendly and harmless creatures that often approach people along shorelines.
“The seal in the clip is young and playful,” Dildakhmet added. “The seals are mostly very friendly and curious marine mammals. We should admire them.”
Authorities are now searching for the perpetrators in both attacks, who face a maximum sentence of two years in prison for their crime against nature.
The Caspian seal is endemic to the Caspian Sea and its population has plummeted by over 90 percent since the beginning of the 20th Century, according to regional conservationist group Caspian Seal Project.
In 2008, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) officially announced that the Caspian seal was “Endangered” and at risk of extinction due to economic activities around the Caspian Sea and coastal development in the Caspian littoral states of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan.
Typos, corrections and/or news tips? Email us at [email protected]