12 Mongolian saiga individuals collared with satellite collars
Purpose of the study is to determine saiga’s seasonal movement and connection between source and sink populations of the saiga populations in Mankhan, Khuisiin Gobi and Shargyn Gobi. Moreover, sample was taken from all 12 individuals for the disease control in the population. Results of the study will be baseline data for further preventive measures. The specialists say that they are able to collect data from the collars within three years and have already received their early data.
By the way, populations of the critically endangered Mongolian saiga antelope, have plummeted by 40 percent following large die-offs due to a harsh winter. The findings of a population survey (2018.April) show around 3,000 saiga remaining after the brutal winter kept them from their food source of natural standing grass.
“Mongolia’s saiga antelope population has been suffering for several years now from a combination of disease and harsh weather conditions, so this news is extremely worrying,” said Chimeddorj Buyanaa, WWF-Mongolia Conservation Director. “WWF and the Government of Mongolia are doing everything they can to prevent them going extinct but urgent action and support is needed.”
The saiga population has suffered a roller coaster ride since 2001 when the numbers dropped to only 750 animals following a summer drought and a heavy winter. However, thanks to continuous conservation efforts by WWF and the Government of Mongolia, the population increased to 14,000 and its range increased by 13 percent in 2014. But then an outbreak of goat plague reduced the numbers to 5,000 in 2017. Poaching has also reduced the saiga population.