Panos Pictures / Prospekt
This is one of several preserved species on display in the History Museum of Aralsk, a formerly bustling Soviet fishing port on the Aral Sea. The animals were placed in Kazakhstan's "Red Book" of endangered species as water from the Syr and Amu Darya was diverted for cotton farming, causing the Aral Sea and the life it supported to deteriorate. The Aral Sea has been steadily shrinking since the 1960s. By 2007 it had declined to 10% of its original size, splitting into three lakes, one of which has since disappeared. Animal life around the dried South Aral Sea has vanished, and the Aralsk History Museum's taxidermy evidence of the region's once vibrant animal life are also slowly distintegrating.