Conservation of the Saiga Antelope
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The saiga antelope is a migratory ungulate of the steppes and deserts of Central Asia and Russia. Saigas are one of the most threatened species on the planet. Their numbers declined by 95% in just 15 years but Imperial research has contributed to a great increase in their population.
Imperial College Conservation Science (ICCS) is a world leading centre for saiga research. Their research led to the saiga antelope being included in the World Conservation Union's Red List at the highest level, Critically Endangered, highlighting the unprecedented reproductive collapse caused by selective hunting for adult males, and demonstrated the biasses in current monitoring methods.
Imperial research underpinned the Medium Term International Work Programme (MTIWP) for the species under the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). It led to the formation of the Saiga Conservation Alliance, and supported a number of conservation interventions carried out, including public education, alternative livelihoods, improved law enforcement, better scientific monitoring by governments and NGOs, and improved capacity of in-country scientists.
The global saiga population increased by almost 190% between 2006 and 2012 as a result of these conservation efforts and the conservation processes set in place as a result of Imperial research are now seen as a model of best practice within the CMS.
In the news
- Spacecraft Or Forage: What's Killing The Saiga Antelope? Radio Free Europe
- Game biologists to discuss Saiga conservation in Moscow - RIA Novosti
- Mystery disease kills thousands of antelope - Daily Express
- After declining 95% in 15 years, Saiga antelope begins to rebound - Mongabay.com
- Mystery over mass antelope deaths in Kazakhstan - BBC News
- Hundreds of Rare Saiga Antelope Die in Kazakhstan (Again) - Scientific American