Agenda item 56: Saiga antelope

Saiga antelope (<i>Saiga tatarica</i>) / ©: Undram R.
Saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica)
© Undram R.
The Secretariat’s document reports on progress in implementing Decisions 13.27 to 13.35 on saiga antelope, which were to be implemented prior to CoP14. The decisions are directed to the species’ range States, Parties and other bodies, the Standing Committee, and the CITES Secretariat. Several new Decisions are recommended for adoption by the Parties.

Annexes to the Secretariat’s document include:
  • the Medium-Term International Work Programme for the saiga antelope, under the Memorandum of Understanding concerning Conservation, Restoration, and sustainable use of the saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica tatarica)
  • the executive summary and recommendations of a report by TRAFFIC on trade-related aspects of the conservation of saiga antelope in (some) range and consumer countries.
WWF position SUPPORT and additionally call for:
 
  • the inclusion of saiga antelope on the agenda of the Standing Committee meetings between CoP14 and CoP15
  • an invitation to be extended to a government aid agency or a development organization to contribute to the Programme of Work by working collaboratively with existing partners to address the issue of alternative livelihoods for local communities.
For WWF's full position, including the rationale and further information, please see page 48 in WWF Positions CITES COP14. Download PDF (3.6 MB | 48 pages)

Why is WWF supporting this agenda item?

  • Saiga antelope numbered over one million as recently as the early 1990s, fell to approximately 40,000, and now, according to Annex 5 of Document 56, may be stabilizing or increasing.
  • Poaching and illegal trade in horns, uncontrolled hunting for meat, destruction of habitat, and construction of irrigation channels, roads, and other obstacles preventing natural dispersion and migration have all contributed to recent population declines. However, the primary cause was excessive illegal hunting. IUCN has categorized the species as Critically Endangered.
  • Since CoP13, progress appears to have been made in the conservation and management of the saiga antelope. Cautious optimism is expressed in Document 56 about the future of the saiga antelope. However, much remains to be done in the coming years, both to implement the Medium-Term Work Programme and to ensure a secure conservation status for the saiga antelope.

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