Hundreds of swans have been found dead at a nature reserve in the Central Asian country of Kazakhstan, environmental officials said Tuesday.
The nature reserve is based around Lake Karakol, near the shores of the Caspian Sea, and is home to a variety of rare and endangered species.
“Between 21 December and 8 January, a total of 675 swan carcasses were discovered on Lake Karakol,” the Kazakh ecology ministry told AFP.
The birds may have died from avian flu, the ministry said, adding that specialists had been dispatched to the site to investigate.
Lake Karakol was artificially formed in the Soviet era near the site of a nuclear plant, and has been the focus of conservation efforts.
Activists have previously raised concern about environmental problems in western Kazakhstan, particularly air and water pollution.
Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev called in 2022 for Lake Karakol to be preserved, describing it as a “unique reservoir”.