Twelve fur seals bound for a dolphinarium in the Far East were discovered dead upon arrival at an airport in Vladivostok, Interfax reported Tuesday.
Twenty seals in all were flown from Sakhalin’s capital, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, to Vladivostok, where they were expected to be shipped to a dolphinarium in the town of Nakhodka.
But upon their arrival, it was discovered that only eight had survived the trip.
The cause of the seals' death is unknown, a spokesman for shipping company Aerogruz said, adding that an investigation was under way.
Primorye region investigators are checking conditions within the shipping containers that held the seals, said Kristina Ilinskaya, a spokeswoman for the transportation police.
Veterinarians who examined the animals did not find any infectious diseases and approved further tests, Ilinskaya said.