Countries Agree on Actions to Help Save Saiga Antelope

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Bonn/Tashkent, 2 November 2015 – At a UN backed meeting organized by the UNEP-Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) from 26 to 29 October 2015 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, governments and conservationists agreed on a concrete set of measures to restore saiga populations in Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia,Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Countries Agree on Actions to Help Save Saiga Antelopes

Saiga Antelope Range Countries & Experts Convene In Tashkent

More than 70 participants attended the Third Meeting of Signatories to the CMS Memorandum of Understanding concerning Conservation, Restoration and Sustainable Use of the Saiga Antelopes (Saiga MOU), which was hosted by the Government of Uzbekistan.

Latest figures presented at the meeting show that more than 150,000 adult saiga antelopes died during the mass mortality event which hit the species in central Kazakhstan earlier this year. The catastrophic collapse of this already critically endangered species has halved the global population size of this iconic migratory species of the steppes and deserts of Eurasia. New survey data also showed that the transboundary Ustiurt population between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan is at the brink of extinction, not least due to a border fence and railroad dissecting the migration.

These findings are a major blow for conservation efforts given that saiga populations were only just recovering from an all-time low of less than 50,000 animals at the start of the century following a 95% crash in numbers. Prospects for recovery of the species are being hindered by infrastructure developments such as railway, roads and border fencing which are obstructing part of the saiga's migration. Continuing poaching and illegal trade in and beyond range states pose additional threats to the species.

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